Catfish's Rollins dominates GreenJackets

Sally's co-leader in wins allows one run over seven frames in Game 1

(Tom Priddy/

September 5, 2007 7:06 PM

Heath Rollins picked up in the playoffs right where he left off in the regular season.

Rollins (1-0), the South Atlantic League's co-leader in wins, surrendered one run over seven innings as Columbus routed visiting Augusta, 11-2, in Game 1 of the South Atlantic League first-round series Wednesday.

The 22-year-old right-hander, who gave up five hits and two walks while striking out three, credited much of his success to his offense, which provided three runs in the second inning before exploding for five runs in the fourth.

"When you get out to a big lead like that, you can really get aggressive and pound the strike zone a lot more," Rollins said. "You don't have to worry about giving up one or two runs. It makes it a lot easier."

Though Rollins was anxiously awaiting the first postseason start of his career, he said he didn't change his approach despite facing Kevin Pucetas, the league leader in ERA.

"I was really excited. It was kinda tough waiting around for it," said Rollins, who heard he'd gotten the Game 1 nod over the weekend. "But you can't really worry about what the other guy is going to do."

That approach helped Rollins, who was Tampa Bay's 11th-round selection in the 2006 draft, throughout his standout season. Since letting in 18 earned runs over three outings before the All-Star break, Rollins has excelled, going 11-1 with a 2.09 ERA over his last 13 starts. His 17 wins was the most in the league since Lake County's Fausto Carmona in 2003 and he tied Double-A San Antonio's Joshua Geer, Class A Advanced Clearwater's Andrew Carpenter and Class A Asheville's Keith Weiser for the Minor League lead in victories.

Matthew Fields put the Catfish (1-0) on the board with a two-run homer in the second. Quinn Stewart and Nevin Ashley each ripped two-run shots in the fourth and Ashley, John Matulia and Ryan Royster drove in a run apiece in the sixth.

Pucetas (0-1) yielded seven runs on seven hits and two walks without a strikeout over 3 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander, who went 15-4 with a 1.86 ERA this year, didn't allow more than three earned runs in any of his 23 starts.

Robert Felmy doubled and scored on Ryan Rohlinger's two-bagger in the sixth for the GreenJackets (0-1), who play Game 2 at home on Friday.

Ryan McConnell is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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