Originally created 04/28/01

GreenJackets rally for win over Bombers



Capital City Bombers ace Steven Bennett was overpowering for five innings, giving up just three hits and no runs with 10 strikeouts.

He was gone by the sixth. Pitch count.

GreenJackets ace Seung Song settled down after a rough start, surrendering just one earned run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

He was gone by the seventh. Pitch count.

With the showdown between two of the top young pitchers in the South Atlantic League out of the way, the Jackets took full advantage of the changing of the guard on the mound.

Augusta rallied for three runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth against the Bombers bullpen, and got some solid relief work of its own to pull out a 4-3 victory before a near-capacity crowd of 4,535 fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

"I was glad he left the game; I won't beat around the bush about that," Jackets manager Mike Boulanger said of Bennett. "He was very impressive. He's a good-looking prospect, and we didn't do a whole lot with him, so I was hoping whoever they brought in wouldn't be any better."

Bennett, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, entered with the ninth-best ERA in the SAL at 0.98. He lived up to his billing before his night was cut short by the preset pitch limit.

And the Jackets indeed fared much better with the Bombers' big gun out of the picture.

With the score tied 3-3 in the eighth, catcher Brian Esposito - who entered the game batting .094 - ripped an RBI-single off reliever Chad Elliott to lift the Jackets to their fifth win in six games.

"That's a big win," Esposito said. "That's the attitude I like about this team. When something happens, and we're faced with adversity, it's like no big deal."

That attitude prevailed in the seventh, with the Jackets trailing 2-0. No. 9 hitter Kenny Perez laced an RBI-double to make it 2-1, and Raul Nieves delivered with a two-run single off reliever Michael Cox to give the Jackets their first lead of the night.

The Bombers got a reprieve when Jackets reliever Brian Adams, attempting to issue an intentional walk to No. 3-hitter John Wilson, uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop on ball four. That allowed Carlos Castillo to score from third to tie the game at 3.

But with two outs in the eighth, Esposito came through with his biggest hit as a Jacket.

Seung, who entered the game with a 1.13 ERA, gave up a leadoff home run in the first inning to Jeff Duncan, then was reached for an unearned run in the second inning to fall into an early hole. But he showed his resilience, retiring the final 12 batters he faced in order.

"Song did a real nice job after the first 30 pitches," Boulanger said. "His last four innings was the Song we all love."

GAME REPORT: Jackets 4, Bombers 3

Player of the game: Bombers starter Steven Bennett, who entered the game with an 0.98 ERA, tossed five shutout innings, limiting the Jackets to three hits while striking out 10 batters.

Turning point: Jackets catcher Brian Esposito drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with a single off Bombers reliever Chad Elliot.

Ballpark fun: The "Paratainment" skydivers, a Barnwell-based team of four jumpers, delivered the first pitch by parachuting into Lake Olmstead Stadium from 5,000 feet.

Today's game: Augusta GreenJackets (14-9) vs. Capital City Bombers (10-13), 7:15 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Probable starters: Bombers - RHP Bob Keppel (0-1, 1.35); Jackets - RHP Matt Thompson (2-1, 2.35).

Promotion: Georgia Lottery Ticket Giveaway