Posted July 16, 2014 05:03 pm

GreenJackets Gameday: Kannapolis' Brandon Brennan vs. Augusta's Joan Gregorio

Wednesday, July 16 - 7 p.m.


Kannapolis Intimidators (43-50)

RHP Brandon Brennan (2014 Rk: 19.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 5.41 FIP, 15.2 K%, 8.9 BB%, .268 BABIP)


Augusta GreenJackets (46-48)

RHP Joan Gregorio (2014 A: 19.2 IP, 3.66 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 26.9 K%, 9 BB%, .208 BABIP)


A combination of a huge, timely hit and strong bullpen work gave Augusta the series opener over Kannapolis in 12 innings Tuesday night.


Augusta's Rafael Rodriguez hit a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning for a six-run rally over two innings. A fielder's choice in the 12th gave the GreenJackets the comeback win.


The GreenJackets snapped a three-game losing streak and put themselves back on track after a disappointing series loss to Greenville over the weekend. For the Intimidators, it was their sixth consecutive loss.


Augusta sends Joan Gregorio to the mound Wednesday to keep things going in the right direction. Gregorio has allowed just two runs on three hits over his past two starts spanning 9.2 innings. He was erratic last time out against Savannah by walking five, but he bailed himself out with seven strikeouts.


Since coming back to Augusta in mid-June, Gregorio has allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 19.2 innings. That includes 21 strikeouts. He continues to show solid command and has limited hard hits at a very good pace.


The GreenJackets are facing a pitcher last seen in 2013 with Kannapolis. Brandon Brennan had a 5.53 ERA in 81.1 innings for the Intimidators last season. He threw 19.2 innings for short-season Great Falls to start this year and was assigned back to Kannapolis to make his first start for the team Wednesday.


Brennan faced Augusta twice in 2013 and fared well both times, allowing a combined one earned run and three total in 12 innings. In fact, one of those outings came against Gregorio on June 21, which Kannapolis won 12-2. Brennan was a fourth-rounder in 2012 out of Orange Coast College in California. Last year, he showed mostly a two-pitch mix between a fastball with sink and a breaking ball. He works to keep the ball down and on the ground with weak contact.


After a day off, Augusta was forced to use four relievers Tuesday, putting the staff back in a familiar position of playing catch-up with bullpen fatigue. Gregorio has been on a strict pitch count in 2014, which might make it even more of a challenge Wednesday. Carlos Alvarado, Carlos Diaz and Jake Smith should be available for the second game of the series.


Game notes:

***Because of pitch count, Gregorio has reached the fifth inning just twice in four starts for Augusta. With San Jose, he did it three times in five chances.


***Rodriguez enters with a .383 slugging percentage. His previous best was .364 with short-season Salem-Keizer in 2012. His previous best in Augusta was .304.


***Augusta's Ty Ross is hitting .386/.420/.545 with five extra-base hits, four walks and 12 RBI in his past 11 games. He enters with a six-game hitting streak, hitting .480 over that span.


***Kannapolis' Adam Engel entered Tuesday with 22 stolen bases and 24 total this season after stealing 31 in 56 games for short-season Great Falls last year. The Louisville product was caught stealing and picked off Tuesday night.


Augusta lineup:

Chris Lofton, cf

Ryder Jones, 3b

Ty Ross, c

Tyler Horan, rf

Jeremy Sy, dh

Rafael Rodriguez, lf

Ryan Jones, 2b

Craig Massoni, 1b

Rando Moreno, ss

Joan Gregorio, sp


Kannapolis lineup:

Adam Engel, cf

Ryan Leonards, ss

Trey Michalczewski, 3b

Danny Hayes, 1b

Jacob Morris, rf

Jeremy Dowdy, c

Carl Thomore, lf

Tyler Williams, dh

Tyler Shryock, 2b

Brandon Brennan, sp