Bo Hundt wasn't about to let a night of strong Augusta pitching and big-play defense go to waste.
"I hadn't been seeing the ball well all night, and I couldn't tell if it was a fastball or a changeup," said Hundt, whose 375-foot single in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night drove home Alex Pena with the game-winner as the GreenJackets beat Columbus 2-1 before 3,602 fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"I saw it up and away, it was really the first pitch I saw well all night, and I just reacted. I've been on and off lately, so it's nice to finally do something to help the team get a win."
"I just feel great about this win," Jackets manager Scott Little said. "The pitching did a helluva job and we got a few huge plays on defense, and Bo came up with a big hit for this ballclub."
On a night when the Jackets staved off a Columbus rally in the seventh inning on the heels of starter Paul Ah Yat's impressive outing, Hundt came through by lacing a 2-2 pitch off Columbus loser Jason Mackey (1-3) over the head of right fielder Chad Whitaker to drive in Pena.
The ball appeared to bounce over the outfield wall and ricochet back into play off the billboards in right field, but base umpire Scott Morgan ruled the ball in play, allowing Pena, who drew a leadoff walk in the inning, to score from first base.
"That's what they were telling me, that it looked like it bounced over, but I'll take it," said Hundt, whose heroics made a winner out of reliever David Daniels (3-3), who escaped the top of ninth without allowing a run after walking Edwin Perez to lead off the inning.
Ah Yat (3-1) took a no-decision but was again brilliant for the Jackets, making his fifth start of the year and third since earning a full-time spot in the rotation after the all-star break.
After giving the RedStixx to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Ah Yat virtually shut Columbus down the rest of the way. Jackets right fielder Freddy May belted his second home run of the season, a leadoff blast to right in the first inning off Columbus starter Alberto Garza to make it 1-1 and give the 22-year-old Ah Yat a boost.
In 61/3 innings, Ah Yat allowed just the first-inning run while scattering five hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He was removed after retiring the leadoff man in the top of the seventh inning, with the game tied 1-1. Right-hander Neal McDade took over with one out in the seventh and immediately found trouble against the first batter he faced, Jewell Williams, who blooped a double down the left-field line over Hundt's head at third base.
But Augusta's defense took over to bail out McDade with a pair of huge plays in the seventh to preserve the tie.
After Willy Valera slapped a grounder to Hundt, Williams was caught in a rundown between second and third and nailed for the second out.
Then, after left fielder Charles Rice got a bad jump on a softly-hit liner by Jorge Melendez, allowing it to drop in for a base hit, he fired a strike to catcher Scott May, who blocked home plate and stonewalled a streaking Valera trying to score from second base to end the inning.
"After the first inning, Freddy gave me that big home run, and that helped a lot," Ah Yat said. "I just thought to myself that I had to just keep us in the ballgame, and I knew we'd eventually pull it out. I think this is a big win for this club because even though we weren't hitting the ball, everybody pulled together and found a way to win."