GREENVILLE, S.C. – Greenville outfielder Michael Almanzar came into Wednesday night’s game against the BlueClaws mired in an 0-32 slump.
Yet it was Almanzar who led off the bottom of the eleventh inning with a solo shot off Joe Esposito (1-1) to lift the Drive (23-16) to their second 3-2 win in a row.
It was Almanzar’s sixth home run of the season, and his second crucial hit of the ballgame. With his team trailing by one in the fourth Almazar doubled in a run to tie the game off Lakewood (24-15) starter Colby Shreve.
It was the only run Shreve allowed through five innings. Reliever Julio Rodriguez came in for Shreve and chipped in four solid innings out of the pen, striking out six.
The Drive took a 2-1 lead in the seventh against Rodriguez on a run-scoring single by Christian Vasquez, only to have Lakewood answer right back in the eighth.
Keoni Ruth doubled to start the inning and came around to score on a Jonathan Singleton liner that snuck under the glove of shortstop Derrik Gibson for an error.
The score stayed tied until Almanzar’s heroics in extras.
The BlueClaws got on the board first in the second, as Valle hit his 14th home run of the season, a solo shot that made it 1-0.
It was Valle’s fifth blast in his last nine games, and third straight day with a homer.
Thursday night at 7:00 pm RHP Jonathan Pettibone (4-5, 3.97) will get the start for the Claws as Lakewood looks for a series split.
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