Augusta, GA - Adalberto Mejia delivered seven strong innings while the Augusta GreenJackets took advantage of six walks from Hickory Crawdads starter Victor Payano in a 6-3 win over the Crawdads on Saturday night in front of 3,649 at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The win is Augusta's third straight.
For the second straight night, Hickory jumped out to an early lead with a second-inning RBI single from Rougned Odor. The GreenJackets batted around in the ninth to take the lead and they never gave it back. Jose Flores drilled a two-out, two-run double to give Augusta a 2-1 advantage. After Devin Harris walked, Brett Krill singled home Flores to push the lead to 3-1.
Augusta added to the lead in the fifth on another Krill RBI single and pushed two more runs across in the sixth on RBI singles from Kelby Tomlinson and Jesus Galindo to stretch their lead to 6-1. All nine runs in the game for both sides were scored with two outs in their respective innings.
The Crawdads mounted their best rally in the seventh against a tiring Mejia. With two outs and runners at the corners, an error brought home Hickory's second run and it allowed the seventh to continue. After Drew Robinson singles to load the bases, Zach Cone brought in the inning's second run with an RBI single to cut Augusta's lead to 6-3. With the bases still full, Alejandro Selen stepped to the plate - the only Crawdad to hit a grand slam in 2012. Mejia got Selen to groundout to end the inning and preserve the three-run lead. Hickory wouldn't get another baserunner for the rest of the game.
Mejia (7-6) scattered 11 hits in seven innings, which tied his longest start of the season. He allowed three runs - one earned - while striking out nine and walking no one. The nine strikeouts are a new season-high for Mejia.
Payano (5-6) allowed four runs on four hits in four innings for the Crawdads, striking out five and equaling a season-high in walks with six.
Kyle Vazquez worked a perfect ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the season.
The GreenJackets will look for the three-game series sweep on Sunday with Paul Davis (4-4, 3.72) taking the mound against Aiken product Andrew Faulkner (3-3, 4.37). First pitch comes at 5:35 p.m. with radio pregame coverage beginning at 5:20 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com. 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.