As the Augusta GreenJackets neared the end of July, they were plodding around the .500 mark, fighting for every run and looking ahead to a brutal nine-game stretch in seven days.
An 11-game winning streak probably wasn’t the expected outcome for the GreenJackets during their toughest scheduling test of the season.
Augusta put together its second-longest winning streak in franchise history with 11 consecutive wins between July 30-Aug. 7. That included two doubleheaders that totaled 30 innings. Overall, the GreenJackets played 137 innings over 14 days from July 30-Aug. 11, earning a 13-2 record over that span.
As a result, the GreenJackets have climbed to within a half-game of first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division. The Lexington Legends are holding on to the division lead after a five-game winning streak between Aug. 5-9. They have since lost two in a row, tightening the race with 21 games left in the season.
During the winning streak, the GreenJackets scored 50 runs and allowed 29. The Charleston RiverDogs were the main victim of the onslaught, getting swept in six games over four days. The GreenJackets also swept the Rome Braves once and took two of three from them in another series, giving the GreenJackets a series win over the Braves in all four series this season.
The winning streak was the longest since 2007 when Augusta began the season 12-0. The longest in franchise history belongs to the 1991 Pirates, who won 16 in a row.
NEW OPPONENT: For the first and only time this season, Augusta will play host to the Greenville Drive to begin the week.
The Drive, a Boston Red Sox affiliate, have a host of prospects on the roster despite a less-than-stellar overall record. Boston’s 2012 first-round pick, left-hander Brian Johnson, is ranked 15th in the system by Baseball America. The former Florida Gator has a 3.05 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 56 innings.
Shortstop Jose Vinicio is hitting only .216 with 12 walks to 90 strikeouts, but the Dominican who signed for $1.95 million in 2009 is known for a strong defensive profile, sporting perhaps the best glove in the system now that Jose Iglesias is no longer playing for the Red Sox. Ranked 17th in the system, Vinicio remains just 20 years old and is in his second stint with Greenville.
CHARITY SOFTBALL: Staff from The Augusta Chronicle and WRDW are scheduled to play in a softball game prior to Saturday’s GreenJackets game at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The two teams will face off at 5 p.m., and gates will open at 4:30. A general admission ticket purchased through greenjacketsbaseball.com using the promo code “Redcross” will be honored for the softball and GreenJackets games, and $2 from the sale of each ticket will go to the Red Cross.