Originally created 05/12/02

Waves pitchers silence Jackets' offense

Josh Thigpen's nightmarish season continues.

The 6-foot-4, 195 pound right-hander allowed three hits and two runs in the seventh inning, and South Georgia starter Alberto Cruceta held the Augusta GreenJackets' anemic offense to three hits in the Waves' 3-0 victory at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Saturday night.

Thigpen relieved Augusta starter Kason Gabbard and was greeted by Jose Garcia, who tripled to right field. Garcia scored on Scott Gillitzer's single to left to give the Waves the lead.

After a wild pitch moved Gillitzer to second, designated hitter Edwin Bellorin doubled to center, just over Antron Seiber's head, to give the Waves a 2-0 lead.

Thigpen (1-2) has allowed 17 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.

"He worked behind in the count a lot, and from that standpoint he has to stay ahead," Augusta manager Arnie Beyeler said. "They hit the ball hard, and we got the behind, and that's the way you're supposed to hit the ball when you get behind in the count."

South Georgia's Ryan Jonahsen pitched the final three innings to pick up his third save of the season.

The game was locked in a pitchers' duel for six innings.

Cruceta (4-1), who tossed the South Atlantic League's only no-hitter this season, kept the Jackets off-balance with his change-up and blistering fastball.

Augusta base runners reached second only twice, once in the second and once in the third. The GreenJackets missed their chance to rally, as shortstop Luis Cruz grounded out to third, and John Hattig hit into an inning-ending double play.

Augusta's bats could not break through against Cruceta. In his past three games, Cruceta has pitched 20 innings, giving up seven hits. He has not allowed an earned run since April 16.

"He's a good pitcher and went out and showed us what he's go," Beyeler said. "He had guys off-balance all night, and his record speaks for himself."

Gabbard continued to pitch well despite the no-decision. He kept the Waves offense at bay for much of the game and left after tossing six innings of three-hit ball. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter.

"He did a great job. He threw six strong innings," Beyeler said. "We just haven't swung the bats for him; and that's the story of his season.

"He didn't lose (tonight), but he's 0-4 and probably should have three wins out of those games."

Korea's Byund Mok Yoo threw two wild pitches, issued three walks, gave up a run and struck out one in his Augusta debut in the ninth.

"We just haven't hit the ball," Beyeler said "That's been the story of our season. We played a good game (Friday) night, and we played a good game in Asheville. Those are about the only times we've hit the ball well.

"Our pitchers have been very consistent, and our defense has been very consistent. If we score a few runs, we win games like this, or we don't have to go and throw a shutout every night."

The loss snapped the Jackets' two-game winning streak. They have lost five of their past eight games, and fall to 18-18 heading into today's series finale.

Reach Miguelangelo Hernandez at (706) 823-3304.


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