Kyle Nicholson turned in one of his strongest pitching starts of the season, but the Augusta GreenJackets failed to provide run support for the first time in their past 16 home games in a 2-1 loss to the Lexington Legends tonight.
Nicholson, the San Francisco Giants seventh-round pick in 2007, struck out a season-high nine over eight innings and allowed one earned run on a home run from Jay Austin in the fifth. But a Charlie Culberson error in the fourth set up an unearned run as the GreenJackets managed only one run.
He threw well enough to win, GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer said of Nicholsons effort. We got the pitching we needed; we just didnt hit.
Culberson scored the only run for Augusta with a leadoff single in the first inning. He stole second and scored on Andy DAlessios single. The hit extended DAlessios streak to nine games. But thats all the offense the GreenJackets produced.
Lexington starter Kyle Greenwalt (6-7) threw 5-plus innings, allowing one run on four hits and four walks. He left with the 2-1 lead intact in the sixth inning, and relievers Brian Wabick and Patrick Urckfitz shut out Augusta the rest of the way.
Austins home run, his first of the season, capitalized on one of the few Nicholson mistakes of the night.
Nicholson (4-8) stranded a runner at third in the first inning and twice got out of jams that saw runners at the corners and one out for Lexington. The GreenJackets pitcher forced a fly out and a ground out in the second and did the same in the eighth.
I thought it was a decent outing, Nicholson said. It was kind of frustrating. You make one bad pitch to Austin, and good hitters like that are going to make you pay. I felt good about getting out of some other jams tonight.
GreenJackets catcher Johnny Monell went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks and extended his hitting streak to nine games.