Simon Klink didn't start the season too smoothly, but that's old news.
The hot news this week has been how the Augusta GreenJackets third baseman lit up the Rome Braves in their four-game series at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The assault continued Thursday night, as Klink drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win.
The GreenJackets (21-13) took the series 3-1 and moved into a first-place tie with the Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division.
Klink went 9-for-17 with 11 RBI against the Braves, raising his batting average from .243 to .286 in the process. And the GreenJackets' strikeout leader only struck out once during the series.
"I knew I could do it," Klink said. "Me and (hitting coach Jerry Browne) have been working on some stuff. It takes a while to actually see it in a game."
The GreenJackets are seeing the payoff now.
After the Braves (17-17) used an Augusta error to tie the game in the top of the ninth, reliever Devin Anderson couldn't force extra innings, thanks to Klink.
The new team-leader in RBI came up with Jon Armitage at second and two outs - and drilled a line drive to the gap in right center.
Armitage strolled home for the GreenJackets' third walk-off win at home this season.
"Simon's been clutch all year, the whole game, the whole series," Armitage said.
The former Georgia Bulldog is right. Klink's three RBI on Thursday and 11 in the series moved him ahead of Horwitz, his roommate who missed 11 games because of an injury, for the team lead with 28.
For the second time this series, Augusta closer Brian Wilson earned a blown save and a win in the same game. He gave up one hit and one walk, but looked like he'd get out of the jam with a grounder up the middle. But shortstop Marcus Sanders appeared unable to get the ball out of his glove, allowing the tying run to score an unearned run.
In the end it didn't matter, though, because as Armitage said: "You can't really dwell on it, because we won anyway."
NOTE: The San Francisco Giants assigned pitchers Doug Mackay and John Odom to the GreenJackets on Thursday, both came from extended spring training in Arizona.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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