The GreenJackets entered the weekend ranked near the bottom of the South Atlantic League in most hitting categories, including a batting average that hovered around .230. They remained the only team in Minor League Baseball without a home run through Thursday, a streak of 19 games.
Nearly every team statistic changed Friday, when the GreenJackets racked up 12 runs and 17 hits against the Lexington Legends. Third baseman Mitch Delfino broke the homerless streak with a grand slam in the fifth inning and recorded six RBI in the game.
Augusta wasn’t finished with Lexington. The next night, the GreenJackets pounded out 12 runs on 14 hits, including another home run by Delfino, who totaled 10 RBI in the two games. Trevor Brown also hit a long ball for Augusta, which now
has four homers in its past four games.
The GreenJackets’ 24 runs in two games was two more than they scored in the nine games before the weekend combined. The one-game total of 12 was five
more than their previous game high.
Before beginning the recent road trip, manager Mike Goff and shortstop Matt Duffy acknowledged the second game of an April 21 doubleheader was perhaps a step forward. The GreenJackets picked up three extra-base hits in the game, giving a depleted offense some hope.
GREGORIO HURT: A 3-2 victory over the Hagerstown Suns on Thursday was marred by an injury to one of the league’s hottest pitchers.
Augusta’s Joan Gregorio left after two innings with a strained oblique muscle. He was placed on the disabled list Saturday.
Gregorio allowed one run on three hits in two innings against the Suns. The 6-foot-7, 180-pound right-hander has a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings over four starts,
walking just one while striking out 25.
The GreenJackets will likely shift to a five-man rotation after beginning the season with six starters. An April 24 rainout kept the rotation on schedule, allowing Kendry Flores to start the next night.
Left-handed reliever Steven Okert was activated from the disabled list to take Gregorio’s roster spot. Okert was placed on the disabled list April 15 to
build arm strength and work on mechanical issues, according to Goff.
FAMILIAR FOES: Augusta and Lexington have become familiar opponents not even a full month into the season.
The GreenJackets and Legends have played each other 11 times this month. The GreenJackets hold the advantage at 9-2.
Augusta starter Martin Agosta has already faced Lexington starter Bryan Brickhouse three times in five starts. Agosta owns a 1.13 ERA with two wins against the Legends.
The GreenJackets took three of four at Lexington, including a win Monday, to end a seven-game road trip.