Augusta, GA - The faint playoff hopes of the Augusta GreenJackets were officially extinguished on Friday night as the Charleston RiverDogs held the GreenJackets to just four hits in a 4-1 loss in the opener of a four-game series between the two teams.
The GreenJackets struck first, only to watch the RiverDogs score the game's final four runs unanswered. After Charleston starter Corey Black retired the first six hitters of the game, Elliott Blair reached on an error to give the GreenJackets their first baserunner. With one out, Kelby Tomlinson's infield single - Augusta's first hit - put runners at first and second. A double steal put the runners in scoring position where Shawn Payne's sacrifice fly brought home Blair to give the GreenJackets a 1-0 lead.
Charleston tied things up very quickly in the next half inning. Eduardo Sosa reached on an error to lead off the top of the fourth and scored on Casey McGehee's double to the right-field corner to even the score at 1-1. The RiverDogs took the lead in the fifth when Augusta starter Edwin Escobar loaded the bases and allowed a run to score on a one-out passed ball to give Charleston a 2-1 lead they wouldn't lose.
The RiverDogs added runs in the eighth and ninth inning to push the advantage to 4-1. Dante Bichette Jr.'s RBI single gave Charleston a long-awaited insurance run to make it a 3-1 game while Cito Culver's two-out single in the ninth put the RiverDogs in front 4-1 and ended Escobar's night.
Escobar (7-8) scattered ten hits in 8.2 innings - the third start in a row of eight innings or longer for Escobar. He allowed four runs - three earned - and walked one while striking out six.
Black (2-2) earned his first win since his RiverDogs debut, firing five innings of two-hit ball and allowing only an unearned run. He didn't walk anyone and he struck out seven - tying his career-best set earlier this year. The RiverDogs pitching staff recorded 13 of their 27 outs in the contest through strikeouts.
The GreenJackets, winners still of 14 of their last 19 games even with the Friday loss, will look to regroup with Danny Sandbrink (0-0, 1.13) on the mound against Cesar Vargas (0-0, 3.86) on Saturday night. It'll be the season's final Sparkling Saturday, with postgame fireworks lighting up the night sky after the ballgame. 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.