Savannah, GA - The Augusta GreenJackets hung an eight spot on the Sand Gnats in the third inning Wednesday night to defeat the Gnats 8-3 at Historic Grayson Stadium. The loss drops the Gnats back to 3-3 to finish their first homestand of 2014.
Savannah starter Ricky Knapp cruised through the first two innings on just 19 pitches, all but four of which were strikes. However, the first two batters in the third reached on singles after beginning with 2-0 counts. Then, shortstop Gavin Cecchini allowed a smash to short, one that could have produced a double play, to go right by him for an error. A walk, a two run single and a walk later and the GreenJackets (3-4) had a 3-0 lead and the bases loaded. Knapp's night was done. He would eventually be charged with six runs, three earned in 2.1 innings.
Reliever John Mincone entered with one out to help out Knapp, but could not stop five more runs from crossing the plate.
The Gnats (3-3) scored their only runs in the bottom of the sixth. Cecchini drove home C Colton Plaia with a line drive single to right-centerfield for the first run. Later in the inning, 2B LJ Mazzilli ripped a single through the left side driving home two runs.
LF Jared King reached base safely, going 2-for-3 with a walk for the Gnats.
Savannah reliever Akeel Morris was electric in the sixth through eighth inning. After walking the first batter he faced, he struck out nine of the next ten batters. In the eighth inning, he fanned four batters after his first victim, CF Christian Paulino reached on a wild pitch.
The Gnats begin their first road trip of 2014 - a seven-game swing through Rome and Augusta - Thursday night in Rome when they send RHP Miller Diaz to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm. Fans can catch all of the action on News/Talk 630 and online at sandgnats.com.