Grand effort silences Music

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AIKEN - Aiken Foxhounds manager Chris Bando said before the season his team would have one of the heaviest-hitting lineups in the South Coast League.

He's been dead-on so far, especially at home.

Monday night, the Macon Music engaged the Foxhounds in a Memorial Day slugging contest - and Aiken happily played along.

Macon's Casey Garrison drove in eight runs with a pair of grand slams, but the Foxhounds countered with four home runs, including two from Garth McKinney, to pull out a 11-10 victory at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

Garrison's second grand slam, in the sixth, put Macon up 8-6, but Bradley Key, from Evans, hit a two-run shot to tie it in the sixth, and McKinney's second blast followed, a solo shot, for the game- winning run.

Aiken (7-3) won its fifth consecutive game and moved into sole possession of second place in the SCL, ahead of Macon (5-4), which lost its fourth in a row.

Game 2 of the three-game series is tonight at 7:05.

McKinney went 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead Aiken's 13-hit assault.

Aiken starter Reid Price, the league's strikeout leader, lost an early 5-0 lead by allowing six runs in the third, including Garrison's first grand slam on an 0-2 pitch.

It stayed that way until the fifth, when RBI leader Kelly Hunt and McKinney, former teammates in the Detroit Tigers organization, hit back-to-back homers to put Aiken up 7-6.

Hunt's third of the year came on a low 0-2 breaking ball to tie it. McKinney slammed the next pitch from Macon starter David Seccombe to dead center for the go-ahead run.

Jeff Landry doubled, and Price helped himself with a two-out RBI infield single to make it 8-6.

But Price once again loaded the bases in the sixth, ending his night. Reliever Steve Dunham came on, and Garrison slammed Dunham's first pitch out to deep left center for his second grand slam of the game, which made it 10-8.

Aiken answered back, however, with Bradley Key's two-run homer in the bottom half off Jordan Neufeld to tie it at 10. McKinney then drilled his second homer of the game, a solo shot against reliever Rudy Quinonez, off the scoreboard in left center to put Aiken up 11-10.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.

Stars of the game: Macon's Casey Garrison had eight RBI with two grand slams, and Aiken's Garth McKinney hit two homers, including the game-winning solo shot in the sixth.


Play of the game: With the game tied 10-10 in the sixth, McKinney belted a 3-1 pitch off the scoreboard in left center for the decisive run.


Next up: Aiken Foxhounds vs. Macon Music, today, 7:05 p.m.


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