Augusta left-hander Matt Lujan used strong command and a mix of pitches to take advantage of a young and aggressive Asheville lineup.
Despite a strong outing by Lujan that led to a season high in swinging strikes, Augusta was unable to back him with run support.
Lujan kept Asheville off balance over six innings, but the Tourists hit enough to beat the GreenJackets 3-2 on Saturday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The 25-year-old starter allowed three runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out four.
Asheville’s aggressive lineup was challenged by Lujan’s strong command, which resulted in 13 swinging strikes, a Lake Olmstead high this season. The Tourists swung through or rolled over many of Lujan’s pitches.
“They do a good job covering the outer half,” Lujan said. “They just did a good job putting the ball in play tonight, and it cost us a little bit. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them.”
Lujan’s fastball sat between 85-89 and touched 90, combined with an effective changeup kept down in the zone and a sharper curveball. He induced 11 ground balls to 10 fly balls.
“I developed new mechanics over the off-season, and it’s working toward better sharpness of the breaking ball,” he said. “I thought the off-speed stuff was good tonight. I just need to sharpen the fastball a little bit.”
The GreenJackets scored first in the first inning on an RBI single by Brandon Bednar.
The Tourists tied it in the third on an RBI double by Pat Valaika, but the GreenJackets answered with an RBI single by Leo Rojas in the fourth.
Asheville tied and took the lead in the fifth when Correlle Prime drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, and a wild pitch brought home what proved to be the eventual game winner.
Augusta’s Christian Arroyo struck out with two in scoring position in the eighth, including the tying run on third, to end its final possible threat.
Tourists starter Konner Wade allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two. The Arizona product kept the ball on the ground by inducing 12 ground balls to five fly balls.
Augusta’s Ryder Jones went 2 for 4. Devin Harris recorded a double and walk, while Bednar and Rojas each had one RBI.
Asheville’s Michael Benjamin went 3 for 5 with a double, and Wilfredo Rodriguez added three hits, including a double. Valaika and Prime recorded the two RBI for the Tourists.