An Augusta GreenJackets team carried by its pitching the previous two nights finally got a decent amount of run support, but the team’s largest offensive output in more than a week wasn’t enough in a 7-4 Savannah Sand Gnats win on Saturday night.
The GreenJackets (21-26) gave up seven runs on 15 hits after allowing just three combined runs in the first two games of the series.
The Augusta bats, which entered the game with a South Atlantic League-worst .212 average, got four runs on eight hits, including a two-run second aided by a Savannah error and wild pitch.
“It was a little bit better, but we’re still not quite there,” said right fielder Brett Krill, who went 2 for 4. “The magic number for us is to score five runs, and that’s just timely hitting and more of it.”
While the hitting was improved, it was the timely part that was left lacking. Augusta went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Savannah (29-19) went 7 for 17.
The Sand Gnats’ clutch hitting came after trailing 2-1 through two innings. Back-to-back two-out hits from Charley Thurber and Brandon Brown highlighted a three-run third that rattled GreenJackets starter Kevin Couture (2-3). The 32nd-round draft pick suffered his worst outing as a starter, giving up four runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings.
The GreenJackets bullpen, which had thrown 11 consecutive shutout innings entering the night, got two more from Aldaberto Mejia and another one from Steven Neff before Neff allowed an eighth-inning run on Thurber’s second double of the game and a Gilbert Gomez two-out single.
Keith Bilodeau gave up two more Savannah runs on extra-base hits from Dustin Lawley and Travis Taijeron in the ninth.
“I’ve been happy with what the bullpen has been doing. That’s our mainstay,” manager Lipso Nava said. “But obviously tonight was not our night.”
Sand Gnats starter Rafael Montero (4-2) got the win after allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings. He walked none and struck out four for his second consecutive win over Augusta.
Savannah’s T.J. Chism pitched a perfect ninth to get his seventh save.