Rome, GA - Elliott Blair's seventh-inning homer put the cherry on top for the Augusta GreenJackets and Adalberto Mejia won his tenth game this season in a 5-1 win over the Rome Braves that allowed Augusta to take three of four from the Braves on Thursday night.
In their final road game of the season, the GreenJackets struck first off a shaky AJ Holland. Rome's starting pitcher walked four in the first two innings and hit two batters. His bases-loaded free pass to Jose Flores put the GreenJackets on the board with a 1-0 lead. Rome fought back to tie the game at one with two outs in the third on Tony Mueller's RBI single.
Augusta went out in front in the very next half inning on a play reminiscent of the one that ended Wednesday night's game. After Blair doubled to lead off the inning, Carlos Willoughby tried to move him to third on a sacrifice bunt. Holland's throw to third to attempt to cut down the lead runner missed the bag, allowing Blair to score from third and put the GreenJackets into the lead. Later in the inning, Augusta got an RBI single from Devin Harris to make it a 3-1 game.
From that point on, Rome had runners on base in every inning but the seventh with chances to tie the game. Their best chance came in the sixth when the Braves got a man on with a leadoff walk against Mejia. Robby Hefflinger's drive to left almost sailed out of the ballpark, but Myles Schroder made the catch with his back to the fence for the inning's first out. Mejia then induced an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam.
Blair followed with his second hit of the night in the top half of the next inning, a two-run homer that pushed Augusta's lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning.
The last good chance for Rome came in the eighth when they loaded the bases off reliever Steven Neff with a pair of hits and a walk. Kyle Kubitza struck out looking to end the threat and Kevin Couture would follow Neff with a scoreless ninth to seal Augusta's fifth straight series win.
Mejia (10-7) added to his staff lead in wins with another stellar outing. He fired seven innings of one-run ball on five hits and a walk while striking out five. He's won four of his last five decisions. Holland (4-9) took the loss for Rome, allowing three runs on three hits and a season-high six walks in four innings.
With the GreenJackets playoff hopes hanging by a thread, they return home to open a meaningful four-game series with Charleston on Friday night. It'll be Fan Appreciation Weekend as the GreenJackets will thank their loyal fans for their support all throughout the four-game series. Edwin Escobar (7-7, 3.02) gets the ball for the GreenJackets in the series opener against Charleston's Corey Black (1-2, 4.82). First pitch comes at 7:05 p.m. with radio coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and 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.