Augusta scores 9 runs in victory

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After posting a pair of one-run efforts the previous two nights, the Augusta GreenJackets found their offensive strength tonight. An announced crowd of 5,722 fans, the second largest in the history of Lake Olmstead Stadium, saw the GreenJackets pound out 14 hits in a 9-2 victory over the Lexington Legends.

With a postgame fireworks show on the schedule and the GreenJackets wearing specially designed stars and stripes uniforms, the home crowd was treated to a show of power during the game. Starting right fielder James Simmons, playing in his first series since a June 10 knee injury, went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. His second home run of the season gave the home team an 8-2 lead.

“I’ve been trying to get back into the groove, working on timing and everything since I came back,” Simmons said. “I had some good ones tonight, but that last one I squared it up right on the money.”

GreenJackets starter Ari Ronick struck out seven batters in 6 2/3 innings. He entered the seventh with a four-hit shutout to his credit but was pulled from the game after allowing two runs on another three hits. Reliever Chris Wilson came in with the bases loaded and two outs and struck out Ebert Rosario to end the threat. Wilson struck out two and held Lexington scoreless over the final two innings.

The two-man pitching effort was more than enough on a night when five GreenJackets turned in multi-hit nights at the plate. Leadoff man Dom Duggan walked in the first and later scored on an RBI single from Charlie Culberson (3 for 4) for an early lead. Designated hitter Andy D’Alessio (2 for 4) drove in two more runs with a double in the third, and Josh Mazzola, who leads the South Atlantic League in RBI, drove in runs No. 55 and 56 of the season with a double in the bottom the fifth inning.

“Everybody was driving in runs at the right times. We had some clutch hitting tonight,” GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer. “And Ronick has been just nails for us all year long.”

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216

or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

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