The Augusta GreenJackets put on a lesson in futility with runners in scoring position Tuesday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
They left 15 runners on base and struck out 17 times, but somehow managed to win the game.
The more accurate statement, though, might be that the Columbus Catfish lost the game 4-3 in 11 innings.
After striking out 11 times with runners in scoring position, the GreenJackets won the game when a curveball from Chris Testa got off track and plunked Mickey Hall in the head with the bases loaded.
"A win's a win, and I'll take it," said Augusta starter Adam Blackley, who didn't get the win despite his third straight impressive performance.
Blackley gave up two runs in the first inning and then held the Catfish scoreless for his final five. The left-hander gave up four hits and struck out two for the GreenJackets. Blackley said that after pitching coach Ace Adams corrected a problem with his mechanics, "everything was smooth sailing after that."
And it was. Columbus failed to get a hit off Blackley after the leadoff man in the third inning reached on a single to right field.
"He made the adjustments after the first inning and settled down," Epperson said. "... He found something in the second through sixth innings."
It certainly didn't come from his offense, which failed to produce any runs until the eighth inning. The GreenJackets struck out two or more times to end an inning with runners in scoring position three times. Three players - clean-up hitter Claudio Arias, designated hitter Hall and shortstop Brett LeVier struck out three times apiece. Zach Borowiak was the only GreenJacket not to strikeout in the game.
Columbus starter Chuck Tiffany was responsible for 11 of the GreenJackets' strikeouts. The left-hander held Augusta scoreless for six innings, allowing five hits and walking three.
Augusta did all its damage off Testa, who pitched the final 4w. Testa gave up four runs - three earned - on five hits, five walks and he struck out six. The last hit given up by Testa was a double by Borowiak to start the bottom of the 11th inning. Dirimo Chavez moved Borowiak to third with a groundout to second base. Testa walked Scott White and then struck out Arias for the second out. Justin McClain drew a walk to load the bases after White stole second to bring up Hall.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
STAR OF THE GAME: Chuck Tiffany threw six scoreless innings for the Catfish, giving up five hits and striking out 11.
KEY PLAY: Columbus reliever Chris Testa hit Mickey Hall in the head with the bases loaded to score the winning run.
TONIGHT'S GAME: 7:15, Columbus at GreenJackets