Augusta sticks it to Hickory

The Augusta GreenJackets' offense, which had gone cold during their recent slide, woke up Thursday night.

 

Facing the South Atlantic League's worst pitching staff probably didn't hurt.

Marcus Sanders and Sharlon Schoop combined for six hits and four RBI, and fireballer Henry Sosa tossed seven shutout innings as Augusta snapped a three-game skid with a 7-0 victory over the Hickory Crawdads at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The GreenJackets (28-12) had lost six of their previous seven - and the Southern Division lead - but they struck for 11 hits and all seven runs in the last four innings in front of 3,798 fans Thursday.

Sosa gave up four hits and Robert Grace worked two scoreless innings for Augusta's league-leading 10th shutout of the season.

Sanders went 3-for-5 with three RBI, including a two-run double in the fifth for the 2-0 lead. Schoop went 3-for-4 to raise his average above .200 for the first time since Opening Day.

Matt Weston and Mike McBryde had two hits each, and Nestor Rojas drove in two in the GreenJackets' four-run sixth.

The Crawdads (15-22) came in with a league-worst 5.74 ERA and lost to Augusta for the eighth time in their past nine meetings. They've lost three in a row and six of their past eight entering tonight's Game 2 of the four-game series.

Sosa had a lot to do with that. Making back-to-back starts for the first time, Sosa had his longest outing of the year and lowered his ERA to a league-best 0.48.

The GreenJackets didn't get a hit off Hickory starter Brad Clapp until the fourth. They finally broke the scoreless tie in the fifth with two runs to go up 2-0.

Schoop and McBryde singled and Sanders came through with a two-out, two-RBI double to left.

Augusta moved ahead 6-0 off reliever Basilio Alvarez in the sixth, taking advantage of an error, a couple of wild pitches and four consecutive hits with no outs.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.

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