Augusta storms back for sweep

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An improbable series sweep ended with an equally unlikely come-from-behind win Thursday night.

The Augusta GreenJackets, playing host to the top team in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, overcame a 6-0 deficit to defeat the West Virginia Power 9-7 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The four-game sweep saw a little of everything.

Johnny Monell's walk-off hit gave the GreenJackets a one-run win in Monday's series opener. Augusta pounded out 11 hits in a nine-run blowout Tuesday and won with pitching Wednesday, recording 15 strikeouts.

The GreenJackets completed the sweep after West Virginia knocked Augusta starter Ari Ronick out of the game with no outs in the third. Ronick allowed six runs, but the Power offense disappeared when Augusta went to its bullpen.

Reliever Justin Fitzgerald allowed only one hit over four innings to set the stage for the comeback.

"Fitzgerald was superb," GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer said. "This guy came in and slammed the door. It was the key to the whole game."

The Giants' 11th-round draft pick in 2008 set the Power down 1-2-3 in the fourth and fifth innings. But when he walked a batter and gave up an infield single with one out in the sixth, Machemer went to the mound intending to pull him.

"He changed my mind when I got out there," Machemer said. "He said, 'I feel good, and I can finish this.' "

Fitzgerald struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

"You never want to come out in the middle of an inning," Fitzgerald said. "I knew I had at least 10 more pitches in me."

Fitzgerald's effort gave the GreenJackets time to rally.

Ehire Adrianza and Andy D'Alessio drove in runs in the third. Vladimir Frias and Josh Mazzola did the same in the fourth. After Jose Flores walked to lead off the fifth, Mike Loberg homered. Francisco Peguero, Adrianza and D'Alessio also drove in runs in the fifth.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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