GreenJackets starter makes most of opportunity

Augusta 7, Hagerstown 1

Paul Davis had to wait for his chance to move into the starting rotation. He didn’t waste the opportunity once he got it.


The San Francisco Giants 17th-round pick turned his first start of the season into five shutout innings as the Augusta GreenJackets earned a 7-1 win over the Hagerstown Suns.

Davis (2-0) made six appearances out of the bullpen before starter Joseph Biagini was placed on theseven-day disabled list after his last start. Davis was plugged into the rotation and limited Hagerstown hitters to just three hits. He struck out six, walked none and left the game with a 3-0 lead.

“It was a great outing,” manager Lipso Nava said. “He kept them thinking a lot. He had really good control of his fastball and took advantage of that outside corner.”

Nava said Davis’ placement into the rotation as a starter wasn’t intended to be a permanent move, but that might have changed after Monday’s effort. Davis said he’d prefer to become a full-time starter.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I want to be there,” he said. “I’ve always been a starter, and I feel like I performed pretty good tonight.”

The GreenJackets scored runs in four of the first five innings.

Consecutive two-out hits from Shawn Payne and Ben Thomas gave Augusta (11-12) a 1-0 lead in the first. Joe Staley led off the second with a single and later scored with two outs on a wild pitch.

Staley scored again in the fourth on a Kelby Tomlinson single, and Payne used a walk, botched pickoff attempt, stolen base and wild pitch to score in a hitless fifth.

Augusta blew the game open in a three-run eighth. The team loaded the bases with two outs, then saw Tomlinson score a run on an infield single, Jose Cuevas get hit by a pitch and Payne draw a four-pitch walk.

Aldaberto Mejia relieved Davis in the sixth but was pulled after five batters when he took a line drive off the shin. Steven Neff came in and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam by striking out Steven Souza and J.P. Ramirez.

Neff also held Hagerstown (12-11) scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, and Keith Bilodeau threw a perfect ninth to give the Green­Jackets their fourth win in the seven-game homestand.

Taylor Hill (3-1) took the loss for Hagerstown after giving up three runs on six hits and two walks over four innings.

Suns reliever Nathan Karns struck out eight batters in three innings, including six in a row in the sixth and seventh.


Augusta 7, Hagerstown 1

PLAY OF THE GAME: Augusta reliever Steven Neff was brought in with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning and closed the door on a potential rally with back-to-back strikeouts.

STAR OF THE GAME: Paul Davis struck out six, walked none and scattered three hits over five scoreless innings in his first start of the season.

NEXT: At Kannapolis on Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.