Ian Cronkhite didn't waste much time winning over the fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
In his second game as a GreenJacket, Cronkhite singled home pinch runner Kevin Jordan in the 13th inning Friday to give the GreenJackets a 4-3 win against the Lexington Legends.
What was left of the crowd of 3,163 cheered the newcomer before finally filing out of the stadium after the 3 hour, 40 minute marathon.
Augusta (13-21) has won four in a row for the first time this season, while the Legends (22-13) lost for the first time in seven games. A win would have tied Lexington with the Charleston Alley Cats for first in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.
Instead, the Legends sit a game out of first, while the GreenJackets continue to creep toward the .500 mark for the season.
"What won us that ballgame was our pitching," Augusta manager Chad Epperson said. "From (Gary) Galvez to (Barry) Hertzler."
Galvez, Kevin Ool, Cory Willey and Hertzler combined for the best overall performance by the Augusta pitching staff all season. They gave up three runs on seven hits in 13 innings, and struck out eight and walked three. Hertzler (2-2) threw three no-hit innings to get the win.
Joey DeLeon (1-2) gave up the winning run in 3 2/3 for the loss.
Lexington starter Derick Grigsby controlled the game for six innings. He gave up one run on three hits and struck out a season high seven batters. Grigsby leads the league in walks, but only walked three GreenJackets.
After failing to take advantage of several opportunities late in the game, Cronkhite's winner came after the GreenJackets loaded the bases with one out.
Jeff Ontiveros led off the 13th with a walk and was replaced by the speedy Jordan. Scott White, who tied the game with a two-run single in the eighth, sacrificed Jordan to second. But DeLeon and catcher Kevin Davidson appeared to argue the ball was foul, and after some consultation, the umpires agreed.
So White went back to the plate with an 0-1 count. After getting White down 1-2, DeLeon made the mistake of the game: He hit White to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Dirimo Chavez pinch hit for Heriberto Guzman and sacrificed the runners to second and third, setting up an intentional walk to Mickey Hall. Salvidor Paniagua, who was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, was supposed to be up next. Epperson instead substituted Peter Ciofrone, who ended up flying out to shallow center.
That's when Cronkhite, who was 1-for-5 at that point, came up. The left fielder roped a single up the middle to score Jordan for the win.The GreenJackets are 3-0 with Cronkhite on the roster and the outfielder is happy to be in Augusta.
"Good times, good times," he said.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3219 firstname.lastname@example.org. Star of the game: Ian Cronkhite became a fan favorite in his second game by driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning.
Key play: In the 13th, the umpires ruled Scott White's sacrifice bunt was foul, leaving White to swing away. He ended up getting hit by a pitch, leaving the Legends with runners on first and second and no one out.
Tonight's game: Lexington Legends at GreenJackets, 7:15 p.m.
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