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Maroul, Jackets avoid sweep09/14/2006 11:28 PM ET
By Michael Echan / Special to MLB.com
LAKEWOOD, N.J. -- David Maroul had four hits and three RBIs on Thursday as the Augusta GreenJackets avoided elimination in the South Atlantic League Championship Series with an 11-1 romp over the Lakewood BlueClaws.
Maroul doubled three times and scored three runs as the GreenJackets rapped 18 hits and rebounded from consecutive 2-1 defeats to close within 2-1 in the best-of-5 series.
"I was seeing the ball a lot better tonight," said Maroul, who was 0-for-6 in the first two games. "My teammates were getting in scoring position ahead of me, and that allows me to get better pitches and hit better pitches in my at-bats."
The 23-year-old third baseman singled in Benj Copeland during a three-run second inning, then greeted reliever Wilfrido Laureano with an RBI double on a sharp grounder down the third-base line in the third to make it 6-0.
"The guys came out swinging today after the first two games, where we couldn't get the bats going," GreenJackets manager Roberto Kelly said. "We just let the offense take over tonight. It's nice to see David swing the bat the way he did today and hopefully we can continue to swing the bat tomorrow and the next day like we did tonight.
"(Lakewood's Matt) Maloney is a tough pitcher, so hopefully we have some left for tomorrow."
Copeland was 3-for-4 with a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs, while Pablo Sandoval delivered a two-run double in a three-run fifth.
The GreenJackets also benefited from some sloppy play by the BlueClaws in taking an early lead. Augusta scored its first run on a bizarre play in the second, when Copeland punched a broken-bat single through the right side with Michael Mooney on first.
Mooney, who ran hard on contact, broke for home when right fielder Matt Thayer sent a wild throw to second base. Second baseman Avelino Asprilla took Thayer's throw and fired the ball toward the plate, but pitcher Ben Pfinsgraff inexplicably cut off the throw as Mooney scored easily.
Kelvin Pichardo (1-0) earned the victory with a strong performance out of the bullpen. The 20-year-old right-hander gave up two hits, hit one batter and struck out seven over five scoreless innings.
Pfinsgraff (0-1) was tagged for six runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out two in 2 1/3 innings.
The 18 hits were the most the Lakewood staff has given up this season, while the 11 runs tied a season high. The BlueClaws allowed 11 runs in a loss to the Lake County Captains on Aug. 26, the day before clinching the division title.
"Our concentration and our energy level just weren't there today," BlueClaws manager Dave Huppert said. "We came out a little emotional tonight and it's just one of those nights. They'll just shake it off and come back tomorrow. I told them forget about tonight, come back tomorrow and play like they did during the second half."
Jeremy Slayden doubled twice and scored Lakewood's only run on Clay Harris' single in the fourth.
Game 4 is in Lakewood at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.