Augusta GreenJackets run into costly mistakes on basepaths in loss to Asheville Tourists

Asheville 2, Augusta 1

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Despite a more efficient outing from their starting pitcher Friday night, the Augusta GreenJackets struggled to get the bats and base- running in sync.

The Asheville Tourists benefited from a strong pitching effort and Augusta’s mistakes to beat the GreenJackets 2-1 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The GreenJackets recorded eight hits but failed to take advantage of baserunners. GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said baserunning mistakes cost the team a possible win.

They were picked off twice in key spots, both times with runners in scoring position, and ran into an infield bloop double play.

The Tourists struggled to plate runners but did enough to manufacture two runs, evening the four-game series.

Augusta (12-10) scored its only run in the second inning on an RBI single by Tyler Ross.

The GreenJackets put runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh, but a pickoff and double play ended the respective innings. They left two more on base in the eighth.

Asheville (10-11) tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Pat Valaika.

With the go-ahead run on third in the seventh, the GreenJackets played the infield in, but a ground ball scored the run after the throw home hit the dirt.

“We got some big hits,” Tourists manager Fred Ocasio said. “Valaika came up big and hit the ball hard a couple times. We’re swinging the bats OK.”

Tourists starter Alex Balog threw seven solid innings, allowing one run on six hits. He used a hard, sinking fastball to induce 12 ground balls.

“He did great today,” Ocasio said. “He threw the ball well, he spotted his pitches and was aggressive in the strike zone. He went after the hitters. He worked down in the zone and mixed his pitches well.”

The GreenJackets bullpen needed an efficient outing from its starting pitcher after a heavy workload the past two games, and left-hander Carlos Diaz delivered with 6-plus good innings. He allowed two runs on six hits and struck out five.

Reliever Tyler Rogers backed Diaz with 1⅔ scoreless innings to keep the GreenJackets within a run.

Game Report

STAR OF THE GAME: Asheville’s Alex Balog allowed one run on six hits in seven innings, earning the win for the Tourists.

PLAY OF THE GAME: A fielder’s choice with Augusta’s infield in scored the go-ahead run for Asheville in the seventh.

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

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