Home run heroics sink GreenJackets

Like most teams in the South Atlantic League, the Kannapolis Intimidators haven't had a whole much success against the Augusta GreenJackets this season, except in one category.


The Intimidators continued their trend of tagging Augusta's league-leading pitching staff for the long ball Monday night, slamming three more home runs in a 12-2 rout of the GreenJackets at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Lee Cruz, rated the "best pure hitter" in the Chicago White Sox organization, hit two homers, including a mammoth two-run shot in the eighth, and John Shelby Jr., the son of the former major leaguer , drilled a three-run shot in the ninth.

The three homers, which gave Kannapolis 11 in 11 games against Augusta, helped break open what was a 4-2 lead.

Still, the Intimidators (44-51, 12-13 second half) beat Augusta for just the fourth time this season.

The GreenJackets (66-29, 16-9), meanwhile, remained tied with Asheville atop the Southern Division despite having their eight-game home winning streak snapped. Augusta opens a four-game set at Savannah today.

Kannapolis out hit Augusta 14-6 and scored eight runs in the eighth and ninth innings, led by Cruz's and Shelby's homers. Shelby finished with four RBI.

Intimidators starter Matt Long, who throws the top-rated fastball in the White Sox system, allowed just two earned runs in seven innings for the win.

Augusta starter Dan Griffin had given up three runs in four innings, each scored by the bottom third of Kannapolis' lineup. He left after the fourth, trailing 3-2, to take the loss.

Kannapolis went up 2-0 in the third with help from a couple of seeing-eye grounders. Mike Grace singled and scored on an infield error off the bat of Stefan Gartrell, and John Anderson walked and scored on Brandon Allen's infield RBI single.

Augusta tied it 2-2 with two outs in the third off Kannapolis starter Matt Long. Emmannuel Burriss singled and scored on Ryan Rohlinger's RBI triple to dead center, and Bobby Felmy followed with a RBI double.

The Intimidators opened things up against Craig Whitaker in the eighth. A pair of singles were followed by Shelby's sacrifice fly. Cruz then launched a 1-and-1 pitch that cleared the wall halfway up the light pole in deep left for a two-run shot to make it 7-2.

Kannapolis tacked on five more in the ninth, including Shelby's three-run bomb to left center, off Gerry Oakes.

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



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