Augusta GreenJackets left-hander Steven Calicutt went into Tuesday's series opener against the Columbus Catfish as the only starter on the team without a win.
In a match-up of two of the South Atlantic League's hottest teams, he finally joined the victors' club on his sixth try, tossing five shutout innings in Augusta's 5-1 win at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"Glad to get that monkey off my back," said Calicutt, from Spartanburg, S.C.
The Dorman High alum gave up only four hits in his best outing of the season and benefited from a four-run fifth inning.
"I never lost my confidence. I knew (the win) would be there," he said. "That (the fifth inning) is a pitcher's dream, the big inning. I just had to go back out there and get a scoreless inning right behind it."
The Catfish broke up Augusta's bid for a 10th shutout with an unearned run in the ninth inning.
Former Georgia Bulldog Bobby Felmy continued his hot hitting. A group of Georgia fans chanting "U-G-A" and "Go Dawgs" welcomed him to the plate each time, and he responded with a 2-for-4 night.
"That's pretty cool. You can't not hear it," he said of the serenades. Felmy extended his hitting streak to nine games. He's on a 12-for-26 stretch, raising his average to .310 since missing the start of the season with an injury.
"I'm getting back into the swing of things, just getting out here and having fun," said Felmy, who credited hitting coach Andy Skeels for his improvement. "And being in the lineup every day probably has something to do with it."
Brett Pill had two hits, Matt Weston was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Ryan Shaver and Thomas King combined to allow no earned runs in four relief innings.
The first-place GreenJackets (26-6) won their fourth consecutive game and lead the Southern Division by 3 games over Asheville going into the second game of the series against third-place Columbus (20-12) tonight. The Catfish had their five-game winning streak snapped.
Calicutt outdueled Columbus starter Ryan Morse, who took the loss by giving up five runs in four innings.
Augusta has won eight of nine at home, improving to 15-2 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
In the four-run fifth, Marcus Sanders led off with a stand-up triple and scored on Brian Bocock's RBI single to right. James Simmons scored on an error by Morse, and Bocock scored on Felmy's RBI infield hit.
Reliever Chris Kelly then gave up a broken-bat RBI hit to Weston to cap the scoring.
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.