Rome, GA - The Augusta GreenJackets blew a six-run lead over the game's final two innings as the Rome Braves sent Wednesday night's game to extra innings before earning a 7-6 win over the GreenJackets in ten innings. The Braves have now won ten straight and 12 of their last 14.
With the game tied at six in the bottom of the tenth, Rome's Brandon Drury singled with one out. Will Skinner followed with a double into the left field corner that looked as though it was win the game. Brett Krill tracked the ball down and fired a strike to Kelby Tomlinson, who threw on to Jeff Arnold at the plate for the tag on Drury for the inning's second out. The great relay throw wasn't enough as Ryan Query stepped in and promptly dumped a single into right-center to score Skinner with the winning run in Rome's second straight walkoff win.
The GreenJackets built up a 6-0 lead over their first seven trips to the plate, beginning with a three-run first inning. Augusta loaded the bases on back-to-back one out walks and a Devin Harris single. With two outs, Krill's grounder to third was mishandled and the error allowed everyone to reach and the game's first run to score. With the bases still full, Garrett Buechele singled into right to score two runs and give Augusta a 3-0 lead.
Jeff Arnold added to the lead with a two-out RBI triple in the third to grow Augusta's lead to 4-0. In the fifth, the GreenJackets loaded the bases and got a run on a Jose Flores sacrifice fly to push the lead to 5-0. Krill singled home a run in the seventh to put the GreenJackets ahead by six.
Kyle Crick was masterful in his seven innings, retiring each the first and last nine hitters he faced. In one of his best starts of the year, Crick fired seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball, walking three and striking out seven.
The Braves began their comeback against the Augusta bullpen in the eighth. With one out, Steven Neff struck out Fernando De Los Santos - but the third strike was dropped to allow De Los Santos to reach. After a single and a walk loaded the bases, William Beckwith grounded out to bring home a run and put Rome on the board. Robby Hefflinger followed with a two-run double to cut Augusta's lead to three. On the first pitch he saw, Kyle Kubitza - the owner of last night's game-winning hit - doubled Hefflinger home to make it a 6-4 game.
With Cody Hall on in the ninth, the lead looked safe, but the Braves opened the inning on Skinner's single and with Query getting hit by a pitch. After both runners were bunted into scoring position, Tony Mueller singled up the middle to score both and tie the game. For Hall - who leads the league with his 20 saves - it was his first blown save of the season. Hall battled back to strike out a pair to send the game to extras, where the Braves won it in ten.
Kevin Couture (2-6) was tagged with the loss for the GreenJackets while John Cornely (1-3) earned the win, striking out four for the Braves in his three perfect innings of relief.
The GreenJackets won't have much time to dwell on the disappointing outcome with the finale of the series just over 12 hours away. Bryce Bandilla (2-3, 1.98) takes the ball for the GreenJackets while Greg Ross (3-7, 5.07) opposes for the sweep-minded Braves. First pitch from Rome comes at 7:05 p.m. with radio pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.
The GreenJackets return home on Friday to open a four-game series with the Charleston RiverDogs. 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.