GreenJackets fans saw another quality start by an Augusta pitcher go to waste Saturday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Jose Vaquedano pitched well for seven innings, but didn't get support at the plate and the Savannah Sand Gnats won the series opener 4-3 in front of 2,532 fans.
Vaquedano gave up two runs on four hits and struck out seven, but the GreenJackets' offense struggled against starter Jason Bergmann. The right-hander held Augusta batters to one run on two hits and struck out six in six innings.
Vaquedano left trailing 2-1 but the GreenJackets got him off the hook for the loss with an eighth-inning rally that put them up 3-2. But two errors in the ninth cost Augusta the game. After reliever Chris Farley walked Kory Casto to lead off the inning, Edgardo Baez reached on a fielding error by shortstop Ignacio Suarez.
Farley loaded the bases by hitting Franklyn Jimenez in the face with a pitch. Jimenez stayed down for a few minutes before being helped off the field with a towel clutched to his head, and Ja'Mar Clanton pinch ran for him. Farley got some help from third baseman Scott White, who made a diving catch for the first out.
But when Suarez and second baseman Dirimo Chavez tried to turn the double play, Chavez's throw went wide of first. Clanton was out at second, but Casto and Baez scored to put the Sand Gnats up 4-3.
Gerald Plexico (3-0) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win, while Brett Reid retired the side in the ninth for his second save. Farley (0-2) got the loss after pitching two innings.
After looking lifeless most of the game, the GreenJackets rallied to take the lead in the eighth. Down 2-1, Suarez started things with a leadoff single to left. He stole second and Kevin Jordan walked. Both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Chavez. Suarez tied the game on a fielding error by left fielder Reggie Fitzpatrick and Jordan put Augusta ahead on a sacrifice fly by Peter Ciofrone.
Both teams notched single runs in the second inning and the game remained tied until the sixth. With two outs in the inning, Casto doubled home Jerry Owens to take a 2-1 lead. Owens had led off the inning with an infield single and was sacrificed to second. Mickey Hall made a running, over-the-shoulder catch in right field to save a run and get Augusta out of the inning.
Savannah got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single by Jason Conlisk. Mickey Hall knocked in the GreenJackets run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
STAR OF THE GAME: Savannah starter Jason Bergmann had a shaky second inning, but threw six innings of two-hit ball. He gave up one run while striking out six.
KEY PLAY: The Sand Gnats scored the go-ahead run when GreenJackets second baseman Dirimo Chavez threw the ball away on an attempted double play.
TODAY'S GAME: 2:15, Sand Gnats at GreenJackets
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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