On Thursday, Augusta enjoyed a 10-run, 11-hit feast at the hands of Cape Fear in a narrow victory.
But famine descended Friday, as the GreenJackets squeezed out hits and runs by the drop in a 6-3 loss to the Crocs before 2,939 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Augusta removed all evidence of the offensive smorgasbord of a day earlier, and whatever spark employed during its three-game winning streak was absent Friday.
"We had been swinging the bat pretty well," said Augusta manager Mike Boulanger, whose team scattered six hits in Game 2 of its four-game set with the Crocs. "But over a long part of the ball game, we just didn't make many adjustments at the plate. To be a good ball club, you've got to make those adjustments as the game goes on."
Cape Fear fashioned an offensive explosion of its own this time, amassing 15 hits in improving its record to 10-10 while Augusta dropped to 8-14. Crocs shortstop Brandon Phillips (2-for-5) had three hits and three RBI, including two on a single in the seventh that broke open a 2-2 deadlock.
Augusta third baseman Chas Terni hit an RBI single to cut it to 6-3 with one out in the ninth, then first baseman Luis Garcia walked to load the bases two batters later. But outfielder Jose Pena flew out to end it.
Crocs' starter Patrick Collins entered saddled with an 0-2 record and a 6.59 ERA but was virtually untouchable through five innings. He gave up two runs, both of them unearned, and three hits in six innings.
"It seemed like he had given up some hits coming in and he might have had some control trouble," Boulanger said.
Cape Fear reliever Scott Dobson pitched two scoreless innings in relief and in the ninth gave way to Julio Perez, who survived the bases-loaded jam.
Cape Fear was up 2-0 in the sixth and, after Augusta mounted a two-run flurry to knot the score, used a three-run seventh to take command. Augusta reliever Alex Solano absorbed the seventh-inning burst and the loss in his first decision of the season.
The Jackets' most promising scoring opportunity in the first five innings came in the second, when they had bases loaded with one out.
But Pena took too long a lead at third and was picked off by catcher Scott Ackerman, then shortstop Jon Anderson grounded out to end the threat and the inning.
"We don't get any runs out of that, and that hurts," said Boulanger, whose team dropped to 4-2 in its current eight-game homestand. "If you can get ahead early, the whole game may change."
Augusta starting pitcher Rick Riccobono was removed after having given up one run and six hits on 90 pitches through 5 2/3 innings, then Solano absorbed a run-scoring double to McKinley that put the Jackets in a 2-0 hole.
Terni reached on an error to begin the bottom of the sixth, then Garcia rapped an RBI double to left center. Two batters later, outfielder Chris Warren sent another pitch to deep left center, scoring Garcia from first and knotting things at 2-2.
But the Crocs went up 4-2 in the seventh when Phillips' single scored two, then 5-2 when a wild pitch by Solano with the bases loaded allowed Phillips home from third.
Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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