Jose Cuevas’ grounder snuck through the left side of the infield, scoring Augusta GreenJackets teammate Brett Krill from second and drawing emphatic applause from the home fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The single run barely put a dent in Augusta’s six-run deficit and didn’t lead to much else in a 6-1 loss to the Savannah Sand Gnats on Sunday. But it did snap the GreenJackets’ 30-inning scoreless streak.
Such baby steps were just about all the GreenJackets had to hold onto as the Sand Gnats took the final three games of the four-game series in dominant fashion. Augusta’s bats warmed up a bit with eight hits in the series finale but not nearly enough in a four-game stretch that saw the GreenJackets outscored 22-5.
“I thought we were maybe one or two base hits away from getting into the game in the eighth, but then we found a way to not do anything,” manager Lipso Nava said. “But there’s another day tomorrow and they have to come back here and keep working.”
The Sand Gnats tagged Augusta’s pitchers for three home runs. Dustin Lawley’s first homer of the year gave Savannah a 2-0 lead in the second. Aderlin Rodriguez and Travis Taijeron both hit solo shots in the fourth.
The lead was more than enough for Sand Gnats starter Tyler Pill (1-0).
The New York Mets’ fourth-round draft pick scattered five hits in six shutout innings for the third consecutive strong performance from a Savannah starter. Alex Panteliodis and Domingo Tapia delivered back-to-back solid outings for wins Friday and Saturday.
“We faced them already in the first series so we had a pretty good feel for their at-bats and what pitches to throw,” Savannah manager Luis Rojas said. “It’s also just a good command of their pitches. Panteliodis was effectively wild, and then last night with Tapia and his power sinker. On Sunday, Pill had his whole repertoire working. He did things just the way we planned.”
Augusta starter Joseph Biagini (0-1) couldn’t match the effort, giving up four runs on three homers in four innings.
Relievers DeMondre Arnold and Paul Davis each allowed an earned run on two hits.
The GreenJackets’ streak-busting run came off reliever Tyson Seng, who suffered the unearned run after Krill reached base on an error by third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez.
Krill advanced to second on a Carlos Willoughby walk and became Cuevas’ team-leading 10th RBI of the season.
But even the run was a bittersweet moment after the GreenJackets went on to load the bases with one out in the inning only to leave them full on a pop up by Elliot Blair and grounder to first by Michael Mergenthaler.