Greenville, SC - If Monday night's game between the Augusta GreenJackets and Greenville Drive were an episode of Sesame Street, it would've been sponsored by the letter K - for Clayton Blackburn's ten strikeouts and the two-run Brett Krill homer that gave the GreenJackets the lead in an eventual 4-1 win.
With the GreenJackets down 1-0 in the fourth, Shawn Payne's one-out bouncer up the first-base line went into the right-field corner for his first of two doubles in the contest. Brett Krill followed by drilling a two-run homer over the fence in left-center - his fifth home run of the season - to put the GreenJackets ahead 2-1.
Augusta added insurance in the sixth on Payne's second double, an RBI two-bagger that made it a 3-1 game, and a Devin Harris bleeder single into right-center that scored Payne to give Augusta a three-run lead.
Blackburn kept the Greenville Drive in check all night with another solid start. The Drive drew first blood in the game with a run in the first on Cody Koback's RBI groundout - after Greenville opened the inning with back-to-back singles - but Blackburn settled down to fare much better the second time through the order. After the back-to-back singles in the third, Blackburn retired nine of the next ten hitters he faced while getting the necessary support from his hitters to earn his second straight win. In seven innings, Blackburn (8-3) allowed a run on six hits and a walk while striking out ten to equal his career-best from earlier this season.
Noe Ramirez (2-6) made a couple mistake pitches and was tagged for the loss, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk in six innings. Ramirez struck out seven GreenJackets in the contest.
Steven Neff came on with the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning and retired all five hitters he faced, earning his first save of the season in the process.
The GreenJackets and Drive will make up a July rainout in Augusta with a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday in Greenville, with two separate crowds enjoying the twinbill. Game one is at 1:05 p.m. with Kevin Couture facing off against Greenville's Kyle Kraus while at 7:05 p.m.; Kyle Crick will battle Jason Garcia in the nightcap. Both games will be seven-inning contests. First pitch of game one from Greenville comes at 1:05 p.m. with radio coverage beginning at 12:50 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.