Chad Epperson made his return to Augusta on Thursday night - and it was a triumphant one.
The Epperson-managed Greenville Bombers beat the Augusta GreenJackets, 11-4, at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"It's weird," Epperson said of being the visiting team at the Lake. "It's a different angle from this side."
Thursday was Epperson's first game back here since August 29, when his GreenJackets beat the Rome Braves 6-4. The Boston Red Sox signed a deal with the Bombers after the San Francisco Giants signed with the GreenJackets in the off-season, meaning Epperson's stay in Augusta was only one season long.
After finishing tied for fifth in the first half of last season, Epperson's GreenJackets went 35-34 in the second half to finish a half-game out of a tie for second place. After one game here as the Bombers manager, Epperson is getting used to the view from the third-base dugout.
"So far I've had more success on this side than I did on the other side," he said with a laugh.
The win was the third in a row for the Bombers (22-24), while Augusta (27-20) lost for the second time in a row and only the sixth time at home.
"We swung the bats well," Epperson said. "We turned a couple double plays that ended some possible threats. It's good when you jump out like we did."
The Bombers, who played in Columbia last season, scored nine runs in the first four innings, started by former GreenJacket catcher Salvador Paniagua, who hit an RBI double to right center in the second.
Greenville scored those runs on two Augusta pitchers who both came into the game with ERAs lower than 2.00. John Odom, who made his first start after two relief appearances, had not allowed a run in six innings. Reliever Brian Stirm had allowed only four earned runs in 28 innings.
Odom was hit with four earned runs and left the game with an apparent hand injury one out and five batters into the second inning. Stirm allowed one of his own runners to score in the second, three more in the third inning and one in the fourth when Andrew Pinckney ripped a home run over the right-field fence for a 9-0 Bombers lead.
Stirm's ERA climbed to 2.64 after giving up five earned runs in 2w innings, while Odom's went from zero to 4.91.
Left fielder Jon Armitage put the GreenJackets on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run homer to right.
It was his fourth homer of the year, but his day was spoiled in the fifth and seventh innings when he twice took a close called third strike to end the innings with runners in scoring position.
Right fielder Brian Horwitz provided the GreenJackets' only other run on with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
The Bombers padded their lead with a couple of unearned runs in the sixth inning.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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