Originally created 04/23/98

Augusta holds off Sand Gnat rally, wins



SAVANNAH -- Even after a successful road trip that wound through Macon, Augusta and Charleston, S.C., the confines of Grayson Stadium are once again proving unfriendly to its faithful tenant.

Visiting Augusta broke a tie game with three runs in the fifth and held off a would-be rally in the ninth for a 4-3 South Atlantic League win over Savannah Wednesday night at Grayson Stadium.

The Sand Gnats put the winning run on base in the ninth, but Augusta reliever Brad Guy, who picked up his first save of the year, enticed Juan Piniella into a groundout to end the game. Piniella was the only batter Guy faced after Wilson Guzman allowed a one-out single to Martires Castro, who later scored on a Guzman wild pitch to cut Augusta's lead to one run.

"We were happy that our bullpen did come through for us. That's been a problem for us, so we were glad to get over that hump," Augusta manager Marty Brown said. "Brad Guy picked us up tonight and it was good to see."

Piniella's groundout left Brandon Warriax with the tying run at third base.

"We didn't do anything offensively tonight, but that's a credit to their pitching," Savannah manager Paul Carey said. "Most of the night, they got ahead in the count and kept our hitters off balance."

Augusta (11-10) lefty starter Sam McConnell (2-1) struck out five in six innings to get the win. Neither of the runs he allowed was earned. Three of the game's seven runs were unearned.

Savannah starter Jorge Carrion (1-1) struggled with his control, walking six and striking out two in four innings. Carrion, who pitched to three batters in the fifth without recording an out, was charged with all four Augusta runs.

Justin Siegel took over for Carrion with the bases loaded in the fifth, but allowed an RBI single to Robert Mackowiak and a two-run double to Jose Nicolas before getting the Sand Gnats out of the innings.

Castro went 3-for-4 and drove in a run for the Sand Gnats (8-11). Leadoff hitter Anthony Fisher appeared to have hit a leadoff home run, but it was called just foul. He settled for a 2-for-4 night at the plate with a triple and a run scored.

The Sand Gnats are 2-9 at home this season and 6-2 on the road, but Carey said he doesn't think his team will be wearing its road grays at Grayson in an attempt to change its home fortunes.

"I don't want to read anything into it," he said. "Both teams had to go out and play on the field. I'm not going to start blaming the lights or the infield or anything else. We both have to play the game."