Clayton Andrews may not have most impressive stuff or even the best record on the Hagerstown Suns pitching staff, but he showed Augusta why he is one of the top pitchers in the South Atlantic League this season.
Andrews baffled GreenJackets hitters for six innings and the Suns battered the Augusta bullpen in a 10-5 rout Tuesday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium in the opener of a four-game series and 12-game homestand.
The Hagerstown left-hander won for the first time in nearly a month and improved his record to 8-7. Andrews, named the starting pitcher for the SAL Northern Division All-Stars in June, allowed one earned run to lower his ERA to 2.30 -- second best in the SAL.
With 10 strikeouts, Andrews now has 162 for the season, third in the SAL and second on the Hagerstown staff to John Sneed, who has fanned 173 batters to go with a 13-2 record and 2.71 ERA.
After hitting Jackets leadoff man Terrance Freeman on the first pitch of the game, Andrews was brilliant. The Largo, Fla., native no-hit the struggling Jackets for 3 2/3 innings and after some minor troubles in the sixth, finished strong. He fanned the final two batters he faced to end Augusta's biggest threat until the ninth.
The Jackets (24-22) scored three runs in their last at-bat against reliever Jaron Seabury, but the rally fell short and gave them their sixth loss in their last seven games.
Making his second start following a three-week stint on the disabled list with a rib-cage injury, left-hander Andy Bausher tossed three solid innings for Augusta, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts.
Bausher (6-6), who had won five straight decisions before going on the DL, left after reaching his 45-pitch limit, and took the hard-luck loss.
"I felt I pitched OK tonight given the circumstances," Bausher said. "It was frustrating to go on the DL when I did because I really felt I was pitching well and had made a lot of progress since the start of the season. Now I have to just try to get back to where I was before I was shut down and hopefully be completely back for the playoffs."
The game got away quickly once Bausher departed. Hagerstown built a 7-0 lead in the fifth inning against reliever Jason Temple, then blew it open in the sixth inning on Bobby Cripps' 24th home run, a three-run blast off Larry Williams that made it 10-0.
Cripps, who flipped his bat into the air and stood for several seconds around home plate to admire his towering homer, drew the Jackets ire. The first pitch he saw in his next at-bat from reliever Jeff Kelly sailed behind his head, and Kelly was ejected by home plate umpire Brian Phillips.
Ironically, Kelly was one of the few bright spots for the Jackets. The 6-6 left-hander tossed 1 2/3 no-hit innings with three strikeouts. Infielder Oliver Mejias made his second impressive relief appearance this season, throwing 1 1/3 innings of one-hit ball.
NOTES: First-year Hagerstown manager Marty Pevey is a Savannah native. The 36-year-old was an all-state selection at Windsor Forest High School in 1979 and a three-time All-Southern Conference selection at Georgia Southern. Pevey, a catcher who played 14 minor-league seasons with 12 different clubs, appeared in 13 games with the Montreal Expos in 1989 and batted .220. This is his third season managing in the Blue Jays organization -- Pevey managed two seasons at Medicine Hat (Canada) of the short-season Pioneer League. ... Leo Estrella makes his first start for Hagerstown tonight since being traded from the New York Mets to Toronto as part of the Tony Phillips deal. The 23-year-old right-hander was 10-8 with a 3.90 ERA for Capital City of the SAL this season.
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