Trends and patterns can dominate baseball at times, but it seemed all were reversed Friday night in the Augusta GreenJackets' 4-1 win over West Virginia.
Timely hitting, strong starting pitching and game-saving defensive plays all came together in a quality effort that manager Lipso Nava had been looking for.
With several San Francisco Giants minor league instructors in town, the GreenJackets have spent extra time working on fundamentals before and after batting practice this homestand.
The work finally paid off.
"That's part of our job as a staff. We've been pushing them a little bit harder with the early work," Nava said. "That's going to carry us hopefully for the whole season. We only ask for them to be fundamentally sound when they play the game."
The offense came early. Bobby Haney hit his first professional home run in the third, and Devin Harris added the longest homer at Lake Olmstead Stadium this season in the sixth to give starter Shawn Sanford all the run support he needed.
Sanford (1-2) turned in one of the best outings from a GreenJackets starter, scattering seven hits. He allowed one run and needed just 73 pitches to get through seven innings and appeared poised to go the distance, if needed.
"Sanford pitched a great, great game," Nava said. "His pitch count was low, but I have to go with the guys in the 'pen to give them some work and get them used to this kind of situation. He gave me seven strong innings, and that's all I'm asking."
Jacob Dunnington threw a scoreless eighth inning, and Stephen Harrold got his second consecutive save with a perfect ninth. The GreenJackets, who have averaged nearly three hours of game time at home this season, finished off West Virginia in 1 hour and 58 minutes.
The Power (11-15) scored first when the GreenJackets traded a run for two outs on a double-play ball in the second. Augusta (10-18) turned three double plays in their best defensive effort of the season.
Haney's first homer in 10 at bats with Augusta gave the home team the lead in the third. The former South Carolina Gamecock followed the blast with the night's best defensive play when he went deep in the hole at short and gunned down the runner at first for what Sanford called a "miraculous" play.
"He not only saved a run, he saved the lead," Sanford said. "The home run, the play at short -- he picked up everyone else tonight and gave us a spark."
Harris' blast in the sixth cleared the left field wall and the signs behind it to add a pair of insurance runs on his team-leading seventh home run.