With both games decided by just one run, the GreenJackets got the best of the close games with the Intimidators, winning 3-2 and 5-4 in the first two games of the five-game series in Augusta, Georgia, Thursday night.
With Drew Harrington (L, 8-7) on the bump for Kannapolis, the GreenJacekts used three straight singles to score the game's first run, highlighted by a Manuel Geraldo line drive single to Craig Dedelow in right to give the early edge to Augusta.
After a couple clean innings for both Harrington and Caleb Baragar, Ryan Kirby got ahold of his 14th homer of the season with Orlando Garcia on first base, increasing the lead to three, 3-0.
With Baragar's pitch count running up, the GreenJackets turned to John Russell (S, 7) for the six-out save in the seven-inning affair. In the top of the seventh inning, Michael Hickman cranked his second homer of the season on a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall, scoring Blackman as well to cut the lead to one with one out. Down by one and with only one out, Ian Dawkins and Justin Yurchak popped out and grounded out to end the Kannapolis threat in the seventh, leading to a 3-2 win for Augusta.
In the second game of the double header, Augusta jumped out to another early, this time against Parker Rigler (L, 6-8) in the first inning. In the opening frame, the GreenJackets almost hit for the cycle with their first four batters, combining for one single, two doubles and a triple.
After a few runs had already been pushed across for Augusta, Orlando Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to Steele Walker in center, bringing in Kirby for the Jackets' fourth run.
In the third, the Intimidators used a Tyler Frost seven-pitch walk to reach with two outs to begin their three-run inning, as Curbelo smoked a double to right field on the second pitch of his at-bat to put runners at second and third for Walker. On the second pitch of Walker's plate appearance, Olbis Parra (W, 3-6) threw a wild pitch, scoring Frost to cut the lead to three, 4-1. After a Walker walk, Dedelow smacked his 31st double into left field, scoring both Curbelo and Walker to then cut the lead to one, 4-3, all with two outs.
In the bottom-half of the third, the GreenJackets added on an insurance run thanks to a Heliot Ramon triple and Rigler wild pitch, giving Augusta a two-run cushion, 5-3.
In the fourth, Rigler struck out the side, proving to be three of his seven strikeouts on the night, giving momentum to the Intimidators offense heading into the bottom of the fourth. In the latter half of the inning, Frost and Curbelo both singled to lead off the inning, as Dedelow singled in Frost with a ball into right field, digging into the Augusta lead, now 5-4.
The sixth inning proved to be the best opportunity for the Intimidators to score again, as John Timmins got the call from Augusta manager Jolbert Cabrera, having to face last few batters of the Intimidators' offense.
After a lineout off the bat of Yurchak and a Ramon Beltre groundout back to Timmins, Johan Cruz singled, followed by a Frost and Curbelo walk to put create a bases loaded scenario for Walker. In a jam, the GreenJackets brought in Camilo Doval (S, 9) to close down the Intimidators, as Doval struck out Walker on four pitches, and struck out a pair in the seventh to earn the save.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.