GreenJackets hold on to edge Tourists in series opener

Augusta 6, Asheville 5

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Bad luck on balls in play failed to slow down a good effort by Augusta’s pitching staff Thursday night.

The GreenJackets overcame allowing double-digit hits to beat the Asheville Tourists 6-5 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

A combination of Keury Mella, Steven Messner, Carlos Alvarado and Jake Smith gave up 16 hits to a tough Asheville lineup, pitching around bad luck from weak hits finding holes.

“They were very aggressive in the zone, and they have a good ball club,” GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said. “It was a nice win after losing like we did (Wednes­day). To hang on for the win without our closers available, that was a big win.”

The GreenJackets offense backed the staff by scoring six runs in the first three innings.

Mella allowed three earned runs and four runs total on 10 hits, walking one and striking out six.

He induced 11 ground balls to one fly ball and one line drive, using a heavy sinking fastball that reached 96 mph. He combined a late-breaking curveball and deceptive changeup to induce 12 swinging strikes, a season high at Lake Olmstead.

“He got beat a few times 0-2,” Goff said. “You can’t make mistakes 0-2 to a good hitter. I think he learned a lesson in holding runners and using various times, too.”

The GreenJackets scored early and often through the first three innings. Brandon Bednar singled in a run, and Tyler Horan brought home a run on a groundout in the first. They added three in the second on an error, Ryder Jones’ RBI single and Bednar RBI double.

John Polonius also drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the third.

The Tourists responded with three runs in the third on three RBI singles to cut the lead to 6-4.

Asheville starter Antonio Senzatela allowed six runs on seven hits and one walk in 2⅔ innings, his shortest outing through four starts this season.

STAR OF THE GAME: Augusta’s Brandon Bednar went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI.

PLAY OF THE GAME: The GreenJackets shut the door in the ninth with the Tourists’ tying run on second base.

NEXT: Asheville at Augusta, 7 p.m. today

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