FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- It was close to being a short and disappointing night for GreenJackets reliever Matt Surridge. In the end, it turned out to be a long and triumphant one.
Surridge escaped a 10th inning jam and held the Cape Fear Crocs at bay for four innings, long enough for the Jackets to scratch out a 5-4 victory in 13 innings Saturday in the opener of a four-game series at J.P. Riddle Stadium.
Third baseman Angel Santos lifted a sacrifice fly to center field off losing pitcher Brad Waldron (2-2), scoring Jeff Key with the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th.
From there, the Augusta right-hander finished the job, retiring the Crocs in order in the bottom of the 13th, for the victory. Surridge improved his record to 3-4 and avenged last Monday's blown save and loss to Columbus at The Lake.
But the 23-year-old almost was the goat instead of one of the heroes.
In the 10th inning, Surridge took over for reliever Matt Phillips, and promptly walked Crocs leadoff man Albenis Machado. He then struck out Scott Hodges but found himself in big-time trouble after a double down the right-field line by first baseman Thomas Pittman moved Machado to third with the potential winning run.
After intentionally walking No. 3-hitter Al Benjamin, fourth in the South Atlantic League in hitting (.336), to load the bases, Surridge stormed back to strike out Tootie Myers and Jose Carreno to avert disaster.
Aside from the rocky start for Surridge, the Jackets got good pitching from top to bottom. Starter Izzy Pineda did not allow an earned run in six innings, and Terrance Hill and Phillips also pitched well in relief.
The Jackets pounded 12 hits, as first baseman Keith Hart went 3-for-6 with an RBI and atoned for a rough night in Friday's doubleheader split with Charleston.
Right fielder Jose Soriano continued to shine for the Jackets, going 2-for-6 with two RBI and a stolen base.
The teams play again today with left-hander Greg Miller on the mound for the Jackets facing Cape Fear's Mark Magnum (5-6).
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