Shawn Payne has been a spark for the Augusta GreenJackets since returning to the club, totaling eight hits in his first seven games. The speedy outfielder came through with his biggest hit yet on Thursday night.
The GreenJackets resumed a suspended game from July 7 and won 2-0, followed by a 5-4 win over the Charleston RiverDogs in the second game at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Payne doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning of Game 2 to cap the sweep. It was needed after the teams exchanged four-run innings between the fourth and fifth innings.
Prior to the outburst, neither team scored over the previous seven innings that spanned the two games.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much with a base open and two outs,” Payne said. “On a 2-0 count, they came at me. I saw a ball up in the zone on a changeup in and got the barrel to it.”
The GreenJackets (19-18) scored four in the fourth on two errors and two RBI by Payne and Alberto Robles. Charleston (22-16) answered with four in the fifth to tie the game.
Augusta starter Joan Gregorio was pulled in the fifth inning of Game 2 with a blister on his right middle finger. GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said it’s not certain when the right-hander could return. He allowed two runs with four walks and five strikeouts in four innings.
The first pitcher in Game 1 for the GreenJackets was also forced to leave. Steven Okert was hit on the leg by a line drive two batters into the game and immediately came out. Goff said Okert will go for an X-ray today.
Game 1 picked up with the bases loaded and two outs for the GreenJackets in the third.
Right fielder Chuckie Jones struck out to end the inning, but two runs had already scored before the game was suspended July 7.
After Okert exited, reliever Jorge Bucardo came in and finished the game, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out three.
“That’s four (wins) in a row,” Goff said. “We’ve hit four twice this season. We’ve got a chance for the first time all year for a five-game winning streak.”