GreenJackets' slide continues

  • Follow Baseball

With a month left in the regular season, the Augusta GreenJackets entered Saturday night's game knowing they'd need a strong four weeks of play to leapfrog half of the South Atlantic League Southern Division and claim a second-half title.

The GreenJackets got a daunting look at what kind of competition they're up against.

The first-place Asheville Tourists pounded out six runs on nine hits over the first five innings and ran away with a 7-2 victory at Lake Olmstead Stadium. Five of the nine hits went for extra bases, capped by Orlando Sandoval's two-run homer in the fifth.

While the Tourists took advantage early, the GreenJackets spent the first few innings squandering their run-scoring opportunities. Asheville starter Tyler Matzek, the Colorado Rockies' first-round draft pick last year, walked the first two batters on eight pitches, but Augusta left both runners stranded thanks to an inning-ending double play when Chris Dominguez struck out and Nick Liles was gunned down trying to steal third.

Another double play erased two more walks to start the bottom of the second inning.

"We had a chance early, but when you don't get those runs in, that's the game right there," GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer said. "You've got to want it, and you can't waste those opportunities early in the game like that."

Matzek (5-1) settled down after the second inning and, though he had five walks on the night, threw six no-hit innings. The no-hitter ended when Asheville reliever Marco Duarte gave up two runs on four hits in the seventh inning.

Augusta starter Craig Clark (2-3) was tagged for six earned runs for just the second time this year, and the GreenJackets fell a game below .500 in the second half of the season and five games out of first place to mark their worst deficit of the year.

The GreenJackets have averaged fewer than three runs per game on their current homestand and have lost six of their past eight games. Augusta had just four hits, an improvement on Friday's three-hit loss.

The Tourists, tied for first place in the division with the Greenville Drive, scored two runs in each of the second, third and fifth innings off Clark.

GreenJackets reliever Zack Wheeler took over for Clark and turned in his worst relief appearance of the season. He allowed a single, hit a batter and gave up four walks in 1q innings.

Search Augusta jobs