After this season, the Montreal Expos' Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League no longer will reside in Fayetteville, N.C., or call themselves the Cape Fear Crocs.
In Cape Fear's last game at Lake Olmstead Stadium, the Augusta GreenJackets figured they would spoil the party, using a four-run third inning Sunday to take an 8-4 victory, salvaging a split in the four-game series.
The Crocs (11-11), who will remain the Expos' Class A affiliate next season and will continue to play in the South Atlantic League, move to Lakewood, N.J., after this season.
On Sunday, Cape Fear got no sympathy from the GreenJackets (9-15), who snapped a two-game skid by pounding nine hits off the Crocs. Most of the damage came early in the game when Augusta ripped Crocs starter Shane Arthurs for eight runs on seven hits in the right-hander's three-plus innings on the mound.
The Jackets scored a run in the first and second innings before a four-run third inning made it 6-3. Luis Garcia's two-run homer over the left field fence in the fourth inning extended the lead to 8-3.
"Luis has been picking us up all year," said third baseman Chas Terni. "He basically put it away with that two-run shot in the fourth inning. Our pitching has been great all year long. But sometimes we don't have the defense to pick them (pitchers) up."
Another Jackets starter overcame several defensive miscues to pick up his first victory of the season. Anastacio Martinez improved to 1-2, allowing three unearned runs in five innings.
When Martinez was lifted for reliever Mike Rupp in the sixth, the Jackets held a five-run lead.
"Thank goodness we got a lot of runs early because we didn't play very well defensively," said Jackets manager Mike Boulanger. "We made some errors that not only allowed Cape Fear to score runs, but forced our pitchers to have higher pitch counts."
With the win, the Jackets won five games during their eight-game homestand, which was especially encouraging for Boulanger. Augusta put together its first three-game winning streak of the season.
"We're starting to play a little better," Boulanger said. "When you have a 1-2 record going into your final game of a four-game set, all you can do is try and get a split. I'm glad the way we battled back and did that.
"We took three of four from Asheville earlier in the series and then split with Cape Fear. I would have like to done better against Cape Fear, but a split isn't bad when you've got a young club like this. I'm trying to forget about our first two series with Hickory and Charleston. We've just got to stay over .500 (in our series) for the rest of the year."
Augusta opens a four-game set in Kannapolis, N.C., tonight against the Piedmont Boll Weevils, sending league ERA leader Brad Baker to the mound. The Jackets return home Friday to open an eight-game homestand, beginning with a four-game series with Charleston (W.Va.).
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216.
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