A five-run first inning proved to be enough for the Hagerstown Suns to take the series opener from the Augusta GreenJackets on Wednesday.
The Suns took advantage of three walks and four hits for five runs in the first inning, leading to a 5-3 win at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Hagerstown (14-11) entered the series weakened by injuries, with four of the team’s seven ranked prospects on the disabled list.
But the Suns shocked the GreenJackets early, as three runs scored on a double by Wes Schill, and two more scored on RBI singles by Shawn Pleffner and Stephen Perez.
As a result, Augusta (16-9) starter Justin Schumer, starting to keep the rotation on schedule after the injury to Joan Gregorio, was pulled with two outs in the first.
“Schumer came out struggling tonight,” GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said. “Walks got him in trouble as they always do. He’s normally sharper than that. He just had one of those nights.”
The GreenJackets bullpen kept the Suns scoreless the rest of the way. Brandon Farley worked 3⅓ scoreless innings, followed by three perfect innings from Steven Okert, including four strikeouts. Okert, in his second outing since returning from the disabled list, had the best arm speed and fastball of his seven appearances, according to Goff.
Mason McVay and Ian Gardeck each pitched a scoreless inning.
Hagerstown starter Ronald Pena worked off a strong fastball to hold Augusta to three runs – two earned – in five innings. He worked around six walks and limited the GreenJackets to three hits. Pena has allowed two earned runs in his past 10 innings against the GreenJackets.
The GreenJackets scored a run in the first when Jesus Galindo walked and came around to score on a wild pitch. They added runs in the third and fourth on an error and Charles Jones sacrifice fly RBI.
“We got down early, and I was proud of our guys for battling back,” Goff said. “They got us back in the ballgame. I thought our bullpen was outstanding. We got a lot of positives out of this game.”