Charleston, SC - The Augusta GreenJackets batted around in the eighth inning to get nearly half of their 13 hits and five of their seven runs before fending off a furious Charleston RiverDogs rally in a 7-6 victory on Saturday night. The win is Augusta's sixth in their last eight games.
Trailing 5-2 in the eighth, Joe Staley doubled to lead off the inning and took third on Kelby Tomlinson's single. Carlos Willoughby's RBI single scored Staley to cut Charleston's lead down to two. After Elliott Blair bunted the two into scoring position, Jesus Galindo's two-run double into the left-field corner tied the game at five. Jose Flores followed with a double to score Galindo and give the GreenJackets a 6-5 lead - their first of the night. Later in the inning, Brett Krill's RBI single capped the five-run frame and pushed Augusta's lead to 7-5.
The RiverDogs still had a couple rallies left in them, pulling to within a run in the bottom of the eighth after a leadoff walk and back-to-back one-out singles by Rob Refsnyder and Francisco Arcia to pull to within a run. Chris Marlowe came out of the Augusta bullpen with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second to get back-to-back strikeouts and end the threat in the eighth.
In the ninth, Ali Castillo walked to lead off the inning for the RiverDogs. He stole second and third, but was left at third to end the game as the GreenJackets escaped with their league-leading 27th one-run victory of the season. Marlowe struck out three while getting the final five outs of the game for the GreenJackets and earning his second save of the season.
For the first time in the series, the RiverDogs struck first by getting two unearned runs in the first inning. After Jesus Galindo's dropped fly ball put Ben Gamel at second to open the inning - the first of four Augusta errors in the contest - Dante Bichette Jr.'s RBI groundout and Saxon Butler's sacrifice fly brought home a pair to make it 2-0 against Augusta righty Danny Sandbrink in his GreenJackets debut.
Augusta rallied to tie the game at two in the third when Blair scored from third on a wild pitch and Staley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home the tying run. The GreenJackets stranded the bases full, however, and would later regret the missed opportunity.
The RiverDogs took a 3-2 lead again in the fourth on Arcia's RBI single and added to it an inning later on a pair of Augusta fielding errors that allowed a run to score. Cito Culver's two-out, RBI single in the seventh made it a 5-2 game and gave the RiverDogs a seemingly hard-to-lose, three-run lead with six outs to go before the GreenJackets mounted their rally.
DeMondre Arnold (5-2) got the game to the eighth inning to hang on for the win while Melvin Mercedes (0-1) took the loss for Charleston after faltering in the third inning of what had been a solid relief stint for the RiverDogs.
Augusta sends Edwin Escobar (5-7, 3.50) to the mound for Sunday's series finale in search of only their second road series win of the second half. He'll face Charleston righty Phil Wetherell (5-7, 6.52) as the GreenJackets look to take three of four from the RiverDogs. First pitch from Charleston comes at 5:05 p.m. with radio coverage beginning at 4:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.
The GreenJackets return home for the season's final Thirsty Thursday on Thursday August 23rd as they open a four-game series with the Greensboro Grasshoppers. 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.