Offense supports ace in GreenJackets win

Augusta bats erupt for 12 runs on 12 hits

Augusta’s bats finally woke up at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The GreenJackets provided more runs than they had in their previous five games combined in a 12-5 win over the Asheville Tourists on Wednesday night.

“We know there’s going to be good days and bad days offensively,” Augusta manager Lipso Nava said. “Lately it’s been the pitching and defense stepping up and carrying us. Today it was the offensive side, and I’ll take more days like this.”

With Clayton Blackburn on the mound, the GreenJackets had previously settled for few runs and a dominating performance from the 19-year-old right-hander. The tables were turned when Blackburn blew a three-run lead early but got additional support immediately.

“On nights like this when Blackburn came in and told us he didn’t have his best stuff, it was good to come out and pick him up as a team,” first baseman Ben Thomas said. “It’s always fun to win, but when it’s a team effort like this it’s even better.”

Thomas led the charge with four RBI, including a two-run homer in the third inning.

Jose Flores gave the GreenJackets a 3-0 lead in the first with his first homer of the season, but Blackburn (5-2) gave up a run in the second and two in the third on three hits and a balk. He earned his fourth consecutive win despite allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and a walk over six innings.

“It was nice getting a lot of run support from my teammates,” Blackburn said. “I appreciate it.”

Eight of the nine Augusta batters recorded at least one hit on a night when the team scored the most runs at Lake Olmstead Stadium since June 17 of last year, when Augusta beat Asheville 15-5.

Jesus Galindo went 2 for 3 with three RBI.

The GreenJackets’ fifth win in six games put Augusta (5-2, 38-39) back into a tie for first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division a week into the second half of the season.

AUGUSTA 12, ASHEVILLE 5

PLAY OF THE GAME: GreenJackets infielders Kelby Tomlinson and Jose Cuevas each made diving catches to prevent run-scoring plays.

STAR OF THE GAME: First baseman Ben Thomas went 2 for 5 with four RBI for Augusta, including a two-run homer in the third to give the GreenJackets the lead for good.

NEXT: Augusta vs. Asheville, today, 7:05 p.m.

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