Early in the season, the Augusta GreenJackets and Greensboro Bats were in a tight battle for last place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.
The Bats hold that distinction by themselves, while the GreenJackets slowly creep toward a .500 record. A 9-2 Augusta win at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Wednesday night put the GreenJackets just three games below .500.
"It was just a matter of time," Augusta third baseman Scott White said.
The players say the team played great in spring training, but it hasn't shown until recently.
"We finally put pitching with hitting," said right fielder Brandon Moss, who went 2-for-4 with four RBI.
Against Greensboro, Augusta used timely hitting and mistakes by the Bats to improve to 25-28. The GreenJackets are 15-7 over the past three weeks, while the Bats (13-40) have lost 14 of their past 16 games.
The GreenJackets jumped out to a 4-1 lead after two innings thanks to a misplay on what should've been a double-play ball and a pair of fielding errors by the Bats.
After Ryan Bear cut the lead to 4-2 with a home run off the top of the wall in center field, Peter Ciofrone added another Augusta run with his second RBI of the game on a sixth-inning single to right center.
The GreenJackets scored again in the seventh when Zach Borowiak scored from first on a double to deep left center by Moss. Reliever Tim Wood walked two batters in a row, including Borowiak with the bases loaded, in the eighth for a 7-2 lead.
That brought up Moss with the bases loaded.
"I knew that once I got up there he'd start throwing strikes," Moss said.
Wood did, forcing Moss to swing the bat, and Wood paid for it. The right fielder upped his team-leading RBI total to 44 with a two-run double down the right-field line in the eighth.
The closest the Bats came to the GreenJackets in the game was a tie in the top of the second. Bear scored on a double off the wall in center by Jai Miller. Bear's homer cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth, but Augusta scored single runs in the next two innings.
Beau Vaughan threw five innings for his second win in as many starts. He gave up one unearned run on six hits and struck out seven. He struck out the side in the third after allowing runners at second and third.
"It's good to have that confidence with someone like that on the mound," White said.
Chris Pillsbury gave up four runs (one earned) in 22/3 innings to drop to 0-1 in his first start of the year.
NOTE: Augusta middle infielder Ignacio Suarez was called up to high-A Sarasota on Sunday. Right-hander Michael Dennison replaced Suarez on the roster. Suarez is filling in for an injured Hanley Ramirez, who played in Augusta last year.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org