Originally created 05/14/05

Augusta triumphs dramatically again



Same score, similar ending, different opponent.

The Augusta GreenJackets won in walk-off fashion for the second night in a row Friday night, this time beating the Columbus Catfish 6-5 in front a rowdy crowd of 3,412 fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

"We keep it exciting," Augusta manager Roberto Kelly said. "We're giving the fans their money's worth."

On Thursday, Simon Klink drove in Jon Armitage with a ninth-inning hit to win 6-5. On Friday, Armitage singled home Klink to give Augusta (22-13) a 12-4 record at home.

After the game, Armitage had one theory as to why the GreenJackets are nearly unbeatable at home.

"We get the last at bat, which really helps us," he said.

During their eight-game homestand, the GreenJackets are 4-1. Three of those wins have come with ninth-inning comebacks - and three different players are responsible the winning runs.

"That's what's good about this team," Kelly said. "It's not just one guy."

It was several guys Friday night, beginning with newcomer John Odom.

In his first appearance with the GreenJackets, the right-handed reliever tossed four scoreless innings with three strikeouts to earn his first win after coming to Augusta from extended spring training.

"I didn't have my best stuff, but I kept us in the game, kept fighting," Odom said. "I got the win - I definitely can't complain about that."

Odom came in for starter Darren Sack, who held the Catfish hitless in four of his five innings. But a five-run third inning put Augusta in a 5-0 hole.

The GreenJackets didn't panic, though. They clawed their way back into the game with a two-run fourth and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Augusta entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 5-4 to a bullpen that had seven blown saves going into the game.

It became eight quickly.

Reliever Cory Wade got Carlos Sosa to fly out to start the inning, but that only brought up leading hitter Brian Horwitz. On cue, the right fielder singled to left and went to third on a single by Klink.

Jason Columbus hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game, and Klink moved to third when Jamie Hoffmann's errant throw home went sailing to the backstop.

Armitage came up and drove the ball to right center to end the game. It was the switch hitter's first hit of the night.

"It shows a lot (about this team)," Armitage said. "We were down 5-0 and our pitching staff kept us in it, we kind of clawed back and made things happen. It's pretty exciting every night."

STARS OF THE GAME: Augusta reliever John Odom threw four scoreless innings to keep the GreenJackets in the game, and designated hitter Jon Armitage singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

KEY PLAY: Jason Columbus' sacrifice fly tied the game in the ninth, setting up Armitage's game-winner.

TONIGHT'S GAME: 7:15, Catfish at GreenJackets.

Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or kristy.shonka@augustachronicle.com.