Asheville, NC - A one-run lead has been enough for the Augusta GreenJackets more times this season than for any other team in the league. With a 4-3 win on Friday night over the Asheville Tourists, the GreenJackets picked up their 22nd one-run win and their first of any kind in seven tries this season at Asheville's McCormick Field.
For the third night in a row, Asheville struck first as the Tourists picked up a pair of first-inning runs off GreenJackets starter Adalberto Mejia. Taylor Featherston doubled home a run in the first to put the Tourists on the board with a 1-0 lead. With two outs in the frame, Tyler Massey - in his first at-bat since being activated off the disabled list earlier in the day - singled home a run to put the Tourists up 2-0.
In the top of the second inning, the GreenJackets answered in a big way by batting around and scoring four times to take a lead they wouldn't lose. After a one-out walk, Jeff Arnold doubled to left-center to give the GreenJackets their first run of the night. An error and a hit batsman would load the bases for Kelby Tomlinson, who walked to force home the tying run.
The GreenJackets got the lead one hitter later, when Jose Flores beat out a double play ball at first to bring home the go-ahead run. Shawn Payne followed with an RBI single to give the GreenJackets a 4-2 lead.
Mejia wouldn't be touched up again until the sixth, when Harold Riggins doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on Massey's RBI groundout to bring the Tourists to within a run. Asheville wouldn't get another runner on the rest of the way though. Mejia (6-5) allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks in seven innings - his longest start of the season - to get the win. After Kyle Vazquez threw a perfect eighth inning, Cody Hall needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order in the ninth to get his league-leading 14th save of the year.
Asheville starter Danny Winkler (8-6) was victimized by the error that prolonged the second inning, taking a hard-luck loss. In seven innings, Winkler allowed four runs - just one earned - on five hits and four walks while striking out five.
The GreenJackets will send Edwin Escobar (3-5, 3.82) to the mound in the middle game of the five-game set to face Asheville's Ben Alsup (8-4, 4.75). First pitch comes at 6:05 p.m. with radio pregame coverage beginning at 5:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.
The GreenJackets return home to open an eight-game homestand next Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Greenville Drive. Single-game tickets for any GreenJackets home game are currently available by calling the GreenJackets front office at 706-922-WINS and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.