ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Tourists returned to the friendly confines of McCormick Field Saturday night to host the Greenville Drive for a short two-game series. After dropping three out of four in Greensboro by way of extra innings, the Asheville squad was ready to return home. They did so in style, taking game one from the Drive by a score of 6-2, thanks to ample offense and a new face out of the bullpen.
Dan Houston started the game for Asheville looking for his first victory of the season. The righty pitched well, allowing just one unearned run on two hits and a walk through four innings of work. Houston struck out three Drive batters, but did not go long enough to qualify for the win.
Asheville opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, with some help from the normally stingy Greenville defense. The Drive came in to the series having committed just nine errors on the season, the fewest in the South Atlantic League, but that changed early Saturday night. Ryan Peisel led off the bottom of the second with a ground ball to shortstop. Oscar Tejeda came up with it cleanly, but threw high to first base, allowing Peisel to reach. David Christensen then ripped a base hit through the hole between third and short, and the runners advanced to second and third on a balk by Stolmy Pimentel. After Tyler Massey struck out, Thomas Field hit a ground ball toward third base that was booted by Michael Almanzar, plating Peisel for the first run of the game. Carlos Martinez brought Christensen home with a sacrifice fly to give the Tourists a 2-0 lead.
The Drive got one back in the top of the fourth, scoring an unearned run when Jordan Pacheco threw high to first base on a grounder, allowing Anthony Rizzo to get to second base. Rizzo would come in on an RBI groundout by Almanzar to cut the Tourists lead to 2-1.
Asheville pulled away in the bottom of the fourth with three more big runs. Tyler Massey drove in Peisel with a groundout, his second run of the night, and Thomas Field singled in Christensen – also his second run of the contest. Scott Robinson added an RBI double off the wall in left field, bringing Carlos Martinez home and increasing the Asheville lead to 5-1.
David Christensen would bring in another run with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, recording his third hit of the night and making the lead 6-1. Alan DeRatt came on to relieve starter Dan Houston in the fifth inning, and DeRatt allowed a run on three hits over 2.1 innings of work. Michael Marbry, the newest addition to the Asheville bullpen would close things out for the Tourists. Marbry didn’t arrive at the ballpark until just before game time, but with the Tourists’ bullpen overworked, he saw action right away. Marbry was sharp, earning the victory by working 2.2 innings of shutout ball. He allowed just two hits and struck out two more to earn his first win of the year.
The Tourists (7-10) will close out this two-game series with the Drive (10-7) Sunday afternoon at 2:05 at McCormick Field with RHP Ethan Hollingsworth (0-1, 3.27) looking for his first win of the year against Greenville RHP Bryan Price (1-0, 1.13). Sunday afternoon is the first Lance Family Sunday of the season at McCormick Field, featuring postgame autographs and kids run the bases. Tickets for tomorrow’s game and all Tourists home games are available by contacting the Tourists box office at (828) 258-0428. You can also listen to all 140 Asheville Tourists games live on 100.7 WRES FM or streaming online at www.theashevilletourists.com.