Broken-bat dribbler sinks GreenJackets in 14th

Charleston grabs extra-inning win

A cycle of tough-luck bounces have plagued the Augusta GreenJackets over the past two weeks. Monday’s heartbreaker came in the form of a broken-bat dribbler.


Ben Gamel’s two-out, slow roller in the top of the 14th inning crawled through the infield grass just long enough to become the game-winning hit in the Charleston RiverDogs’ 4-3 win over the GreenJackets.

The weak grounder off Augusta reliever Andrew Berger allowed Eduardo Sosa to score from third and brought an end to a long, painful homestand for the GreenJackets. Charleston took three wins in the four-game series, and Augusta heads into today’s off day having lost seven of their past eight games.

“That’s a tough one,” manager Lipso Nava said. “Give the players credit. They battled. It’s just unfortunate that the baseball gods weren’t with us tonight.”

The GreenJackets, who snapped a six-game losing streak Sunday night, returned to their sloppy play early Monday with a throwing error and base-running mistakes that handed Charleston a 3-0 lead.

But Devin Harris’ second home run in two nights helped erase the deficit. Harris’ two-run blast in a three-run seventh tied the game and forced the GreenJackets’ longest extra-inning contest this season.

“He’s a hard-working guy, and he goes to the park willing to play and make adjustments when he has to,” Nava said. “He deserves these types of things. He deserves this success.”

But the run production failed to materialize after the seventh. The GreenJackets put runners on base in the six of the final seven innings but stranded everybody.

Berger (0-3) took the loss after giving up two hits in the 14th.

He nearly got out of the inning when his defense turned a double play with runners at first and second, but Sosa advanced to third and Gamel’s broken-bat roller didn’t give shortstop Kelby Tomlinson enough time to make the play.

Nick Goody (1-1) threw two scoreless innings to get his first professional win, while Fred Lewis gave up a single to Brett Krill in the 14th but stranded the runner for his first pro save.

Charleston starter Matt Bashore, a first-round pick in 2009, threw five shutout innings and left with a 3-0 lead and in position for his first win since June.

But reliever Ben Paullus gave up the three runs in his second inning of work to blow the save opportunity.

GreenJackets starter Clayton Blackburn lasted seven innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and a walk. He struck out seven and left with the game tied at 3.


PLAY OF THE GAME: With a runner on first and one out in the fifth, Charleston shortstop Cito Culver made a diving stop in front of second, tagged the bag while he was on the ground and threw to first from his backside for a double play.

STAR OF THE GAME: Charleston’s Ben Gamel didn’t hit the ball far in the top of the 14th, but it rolled slowly enough for an infield single that scored the game-winning run.

NEXT: Augusta GreenJackets at Delmarva Shorebirds, Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.