Three quality wins at home wiped away last week’s dismal series on the road, and suddenly the Augusta GreenJackets are half a game out of first place.
Kyle Crick fired six scoreless innings and Devin Harris delivered the big hit again in a 3-1 win over the Greenville Drive that completed a rain-shortened series sweep.
The GreenJackets (12-9, 44-46) extended their Lake Olmstead Stadium winning streak to five games and, with the help of losses from the three teams above them, moved to within striking distance of the top spot in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.
“We forgot about the last series and got the momentum back and kept it going,” manager Lipso Nava said.
Harris, in his second game back in Augusta, gave the GreenJackets an early lead with a bases-loaded double in a three-run first inning. He also made a catch on the run in the eighth to a potential Greenville rally.
Shawn Payne celebrated his 23rd birthday with a lead off single that sparked a first inning that sent seven Augusta batters to the plate. The GreenJackets left fielder went 3 for 4 with a run scored, extended his hitting streak to 12 games and notched his 33rd stolen base.
“He’s really the ignition for the offense,” Nava said. “Whenever he’s on base we know we have a better chance to score.”
After Payne’s hit in the first, Jose Flores also singled and Joe Staley walked to load the bases. Harris’ line drive on an 0-2 pitch fell in front of diving center fielder Cody Koback and skipped past him to score two runs. Jose Cuevas followed with an RBI sacrifice fly.
The three runs were all Crick (4-6) needed. The 49th pick in last year’s draft gave up two hits and a walk in his first time through the Drive order but retired 11 consecutive batters on his next time around.
Chris Marlowe allowed a single but struck out two in his first appearance out of the bullpen this season.
Cody Hall secured his 16th save with a perfect ninth.
Greenville’s Noe Ramirez (0-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits and two walks over six innings.