Augusta manager Mike Goff played the odds Sunday by forcing Asheville’s Ryan McMahon to face a left-handed pitcher, but McMahon’s talent was more than enough to beat them.
The star third baseman hit a grand slam to set the tone in the Tourists’ 12-2 win over the GreenJackets at Lake Olmstead Stadium. An intentional walk in the third inning loaded the bases for McMahon, who took Augusta lefty Christian Jones deep to the opposite field.
“It’s a good mentality to have going up there, to get the job done with less than two outs,” McMahon said. “I tried to take it out on the ball and it worked.”
It was only his third hit of the season against a left-hander in 21 at-bats, including his first extra-base hit. But the grand slam was McMahon’s ninth home run in 85 at-bats, which leads the South Atlantic League.
He was drafted in the second round in 2013 out of powerhouse Mater Dei High School in California, where he was also the starting quarterback. He turned down a scholarship offer to play baseball at Southern California and signed with the Colorado Rockies for $1.3 million.
“I had a pretty decent spring training and came out hitting the ball pretty good,” he said. “That’s all that matters is squaring the ball up and helping the team win.”
With a 4-2 lead, Asheville’s Pat Valaika hit a two-run homer in the seventh, which extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
The Tourists (12-11) scored six runs in the eighth to break it open, including two-run hits by McMahon and Raimel Tapia. Augusta (12-12) scored a run in the first on an error, its ninth consecutive game in which it scored first. Despite that streak, the GreenJackets are 4-5 during that span.
They added their final run in the fifth on an RBI single by Randy Ortiz.
While Jones gave up four runs in four innings, Asheville’s Johendi Jiminian allowed two runs in seven.