What was billed as a potential duel between starting pitchers Wednesday night became the Gabriel Ynoa show.
The Savannah Sand Gnats rocked Martin Agosta and rode Ynoa to a 10-2 win over the Augusta GreenJackets in Game 1 of the South Atlantic League Division Series at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Ynoa, the SAL Pitcher of the Year, used a solid three-pitch mix to keep the GreenJackets off balance. The changeup was consistently major league quality with good separation from the fastball, while the slider was above average and the fastball was thrown for strikes. The mix resulted in one run and two hits through six innings for Augusta.
“We saw tonight what we’ve seen the entire season,” Sand Gnats manager Luis Rojas said. “He commands, is very confident in his stuff, excellent tempo, keeps the defense on their toes, and that’s the same thing we saw tonight.”
Agosta allowed six runs in 41/3 innings, walking three and striking out three. His velocity appeared to go down as the outing progressed, and his stuff went flat during Savannah’s six-run fifth inning.
Agosta’s slider lost its feel late and his command wavered in the final frame. Savannah scored seven times through five innings, three on a bases-clearing double by Stefan Sabol.
“He threw the ball OK,” GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said. “He got to a couple two-strike counts and left the ball up in the zone and got hurt with it. He just didn’t put hitters away.”
Six of the Sand Gnats’ nine batters had two hits or more. Sabol went 3 for 5 with a double and four RBI, and right fielder Maiki De La Cruz went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI.
The GreenJackets will travel to Savannah for a must-win Game 2 on Friday.
“A loss is a loss in the playoffs,” Goff said. “We’ve been very resilient all season long bouncing back. We played very well on the road, and I expect these guys to go there Friday and come out swinging the bats and win a couple ballgames to keep this thing going.”