AUGUSTA, Ga. - The GreenJackets got off to a slow starts on Thursday in Hagerstown. During the first game of the doubleheader, they failed to score any runs and lost 4-0 to the Suns in Game 1.
The second game didn't look much better for Augusta at first. The Suns put up runs in the bottom of the first and third and were on their way to winning the three game series against the GreenJackets. But a huge fourth inning for the GreenJackets (13-7) led them to a 3-2 win against the Suns (11-9) in Game 2.
Chris Stratton started on the mound in Game 1. Stratton, who has been one of the GreenJackets strongest pitchers, had an uncharacteristic night. In 6 innings of work he gave up two hits and four runs.
Despite picking up the loss on Thursday, Stratton's performance had a bright spot. He struck out 11 batters to bring his total for the season to 28, which ranks second in the South Atlantic League.
In Game 2, the Suns wasted no time taking the lead again. Second baseman Tony Renda lead off in the bottom of the first with a single to center field. Two strikeouts later, Hagertown's Shawn Pleffner came up to bat and doubled to right field to score Renda.
The Suns' extended their lead in the bottom of the third in almost the same way they scored in the first. Renda lead off with a walk, and then Pleffner doubled to center field to score Renda again.
But Augusta answered back immediately. Seven of the eight GreenJackets' batters the Suns faced in the top of the fourth got on base.
Shayne Houck started the fourth with a single to left field. Mitch Delfino then reached when he hit into a force out, causing Houck to be called out at second. Delfino moved to second when Ben Turner reached on a throwing error, went to third when Chuckie Jones singled to left field and scored the first run for the GreenJackets when Stephen Branca singled on a line drive to left field.
Turner tied up the game for Augusta when Andrew Cain hit a fly ball to center field and got on thanks to a fielding error by the Suns' Wes Schill.
The final run of the inning came when catcher Brad Moss walked to score Jones.
Augusta now has the best record in the SAL in addition to having a 1.0 game lead in the Southern Division. The GreenJackets head to Lexington to face the Legends in the start of a four-game series. They return home on Wednesday, May 1.