The Easter Bunny looked kindly on the Augusta GreenJackets this year, as Augusta picked up eight runs on nine hits and benefitted from solid relief pitching in an 8-5 come-from-behind win that allowed the GreenJackets to salvage the series split with the Savannah Sand Gnats on Easter Sunday.
Trailing 5-3 in the seventh inning, the GreenJackets claimed the lead with a three-run frame. Carlos Willoughby’s RBI single cut the Savannah lead down to one run. Two hitters later, Jose Cuevas doubled home both the game-tying and go-ahead runs to put the GreenJackets up 6-5. In the eighth inning, Shawn Payne tripled home a run and scored on a wild pitch to pad the lead.
Bryce Bandilla (1-0) benefitted from the late runs, earning the victory in his first appearance of the season. He allowed a run on one hit and a walk in two innings. Paul Davis – who joined the team from Extended Spring Training just this morning – gave up two hits in two scoreless innings to earn the save.
Augusta struck first for the second time in the series, getting a run in the third on Kelby Tomlinson’s RBI groundout in the third inning. An inning later, Savannah tied the game on Luis Nieves’s RBI single. The GreenJackets stormed back in the fifth to reclaim the lead and begin the see-saw theme of the day on back-to-back RBI doubles by Payne and Willoughby to put Augusta ahead 3-1.
Savannah took their first lead of the day in the next half-inning on Aderlin Rodriguez’s second three-run home run of the series. In the sixth, a Cam Maron sacrifice fly put the Gnats up 5-3. Augusta would score the final five runs of the game unanswered to get the win.
Kyle Crick – making his first professional start – fired 3.2 innings for the GreenJackets, allowing a run on three hits while walking three and hitting two batters. Savannah starter Domingo Tapia didn’t figure in the decision either, throwing five innings of three-run ball and striking out three. Carlos Vazquez (1-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on a hit and two walks.
The GreenJackets move on to Charleston for the first of a three-game set with the RiverDogs on Monday. Joseph Biagini and Scottie Allen – both righties – will make their 2012 debuts for the GreenJackets and RiverDogs respectively. First pitch from Charleston comes at 7:05 p.m. with radio pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.
The GreenJackets return home for their home opener next Thursday at 7:35 p.m. against the Sand Gnats. Single-game tickets for any GreenJackets home game are currently available by calling the GreenJackets front office at 706-922-WINS and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.