Despite the inevitable fatigue from playing five games in a three-day span, some last minute heroics in Game 1 and a better start in Game 2 gave the Augusta GreenJackets a doubleheader sweep of the Greenville Drive tonight at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The GreenJackets, who played host to Rome in a doubleheader Tuesday and noon game Wednesday, welcomed the Drive to town with another doubleheader tonight. Game 1 of the series-opening wins saw the GreenJackets nearly suffer their first shutout since April before a four-run seventh, capped by Shawn Payne’s bases-loaded, two-out double, gave the home team a walk-off victory.
Six runs over the first two innings of Game 2 did enough damage in a 6-1 win.
“I’m happy with the effort I saw in every game,” manager Lipso Nava said. “They kept carrying that momentum and believing they could do it. They didn’t let the fatigue interfere.”
One night after Garrett Buechele played the hero by giving Augusta a walk-off win when he took a fastball to the shoulder with two outs and the bases loaded in a tie game, Payne provided another dramatic, come-from-behind victory.
The starting designated hitter capped a four-run seventh with a three-RBI double with two outs and the bases loaded.
The GreenJackets (31-35) entered the final inning down 3-0 with just three hits to their credit, but singles from Buechele and pinch hitter Ben Thomas and walks from Brett Krill and Kelby Tomlinson set up Payne for the game-winner.
“It’s obvious we’re playing a lot better team ball right now,” Thomas said. “When we score five or six runs we know that our pitching staff is good enough to get the win.”
Greenville reliever Nefi Ogando (1-4) took the loss, while Augusta’s Jacob Dunnington (1-0) got the win after a perfect inning of relief.
Ogando’s blown save wasted the effort of Greenville starter Mickey Pena, who threw five shutout innings, struck out five and allowed just two hits and two walks.
GreenJackets starter Kevin Couture avoided the loss, giving up three runs, one earned, on five hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three in a no decision.
Rehabbing Boston Red Sox outfielder Jason Repko, who joined the Drive on Monday, went 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs scored as the designated hitter. He led the charge for a visiting team that scored a run in each of the first three innings.
While Greenville (32-35) grabbed an early lead in Game 1 only to lose it, the GreenJackets jumped ahead in Game 2 and never looked back.
Payne, Wes Hodges and Thomas hit consecutive singles for a 2-1 lead after one inning. The GreenJackets sent eight batters to the plate in a four-run second.
Augusta starter Adalberto Mejia, making a spot start, allowed one run over four innings and struck out seven. He gave way to Derek Law, who turned in two scoreless innings on just one hit and three strikeouts to improve to 5-0.
Cody Hall issued a leadoff walk and a groundball single in the seventh but closed the game out by inducing a pair of grounders to second.
Greenville Game 2 starter Jason Garcia (1-4) lasted just two innings and allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits and a walk.