The Augusta GreenJackets made up for three days off during the all-star break by playing extra baseball Thursday night.
The GreenJackets beat the Rome Braves 7-6 in an 11-inning game that lasted three hours and 20 minutes. Charlie Culberson's walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th scored Johnny Monell from second base for the win.
"You still get butterflies going up to bat in a situation like that," Culberson said. "But I wanted to get it over with there and get a hit."
Culberson's single came on a 3-for-5 night at the plate for his sixth multihit performance in the past seven games, but it wasn't the only offensive surge for the GreenJackets. Josh Mazzola homered twice and Monell added another long ball in a see-saw game that saw both teams trail and take the lead.
Rome scored first with two runs in the second, but Augusta answered on Monell's two-run homer in the fifth.
Mazzola's two-run shot in the sixth, gave Augusta a 4-2 lead in the sixth.
GreenJackets starter Kyle Nicholson threw well enough for a win, allowing two earned runs on five hits over 7q innings. But when he left in the eighth, reliever Edwin Quirarte gave up three hits, hit a batter with the bases loaded and fell victim to a pair of GreenJackets errors. Rome took a 6-4 advantage into the bottom of the eighth.
But the Braves' lead didn't last long. Mazzola's second homer of the game cleared the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth for a 6-6 score that sent the two teams into extra innings.
The game appeared to take a major swing in Rome's favor in the top of the 10th when a shot off the bat of Matt Kennelly easily cleared the wall down the right-field line with a runner on. Kennelly went into a full home run trot, but plate umpire Erik Hill ruled the ball foul.
Rome manager Randy Ingle stopped the game to argue the call and was ejected after he hurled his helmet in frustration.
Once he was tossed, Ingle went into an animated tirade. He dug up third base and relocated it to a spot between second and third, where he then made the signal for a foul ball.
Kennelly later grounded out, and neither team threatened until Culberson's heroics with one out in the bottom of the 11th.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GREENJACKETS 7, BRAVES 6 (11 INNINGS)
STAR OF THE GAME: Augusta first baseman Josh Mazzola went 2-for-5 with two home runs. His four RBI put him in second place in the South Atlantic League with 49 this season.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Charlie Culberson emerged as the hero of the night with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th.
NEXT: The GreenJackets and the Braves will hit the road today for a three-game series in Rome.