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Harris lifts BlueClaws in Game 109/11/2006 9:53 PM ET
By Michael Echan / Special to MLB.com
Clay Harris' RBI single in the eighth inning lifted visiting Lakewood over Augusta, 2-1, on Monday in the opener of the South Atlantic League Championship Series.
Avelino Asprilla sparked the decisive rally by lining a one-out single to left field for the BlueClaws' first base hit since the second inning. He moved to second on Mike Spidale's groundout and reliever Taylor Wilding intentionally walked Jeremy Slayden before Harris ripped a single up the middle to plate the go-ahead run.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit up there," Harris said. "I had swung at some pretty bad pitches in my last at-bat, so I was just trying to make some good contact. [Wilding] had thrown about six breaking balls in a row, so I knew what his pitches could do.
"When I hit it, I knew I got it good, but I didn't know if the center fielder [Antoan Richardson] was going to get it. He made a good play a couple of innings before, so there was that question, and I was also making sure Avelino was going to be able to score. Thankfully, he did."
Harris, who is batting .417 during the postseason, went 2-for-5 with a run scored. He walked and came home on Lou Marson's groundout in the second to open the scoring.
Lakewood starter Josh Outman (1-0) picked up the win after allowing a run on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts in seven innings.
It had been over a week since the hard-throwing left-hander had pitched, and he was roughed up in his only previous outing against the GreenJackets this year. But Outman felt confident that he would be able turn in a strong performance.
"Well, I had a fiasco of a time trying to pick up my fiancee at the airport the night before that game [July 26]," Outman said.
"I've also stayed in touch with the mound since the last time I pitched," he added. "I've thrown a couple of bullpen sessions and I also threw about 15 pitches in yesterday's workout so I could maintain the feel of all my pitches."
William Savage struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Brett Harker worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to pick up his second postseason save.
GreenJackets starter Joe Martinez yielded a run on three hits and three walks while striking out eight in seven innings. Wilding (0-1) surrendered a run on two hits with two strikeouts in two frames.
"The game had that feel right at the start that it would only take a couple of runs to win," Outman said. "I was a little more motivated [with Martinez pitching], but I wasn't worried. Going head-to-head against a guy like Martinez is all the motivation you'd need."
Richardson plated the lone run for Augusta with a bloop single to right field in the fifth.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is in Augusta at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.