North Augusta, SC* – The Augusta GreenJackets (Atlanta Braves) won an exciting opening game against the Columbia Fireflies (Kansas City Royals) on Saturday’s doubleheader, before the Fireflies bounced back to clinch a close win in game two. Columbia (17-18, 52-48) got clutch pitching in the second game, while Augusta (16-19, 47-53) saw a stellar pair of pitching debuts from Hurston Waldrep and Cory Wall in the opener.
Atlanta 2023 first round pick Hurston Waldrep made his professional debut in game one, and did so with aplomb. Waldrep struck out the first batter he faced and finished the inning by striking out the side. Augusta would be held off the scoreboard for the first four innings by Columbia starter Oscar Rayo, leaving three men aboard in the early frames.
Meanwhile, the strikeout artist Waldrep was on full display. The University of Florida product struck out two in the second and three more in the third, finishing his outing with eight strikeouts in three full innings of work. The Fireflies pushed across two runs in the third inning, courtesy of good baserunning and a wild pitch. Waldrep was relieved in the top of the fourth by fellow debutant Cory Wall, who worked two scoreless frames without allowing a hit.
The GreenJackets broke through in a big way in the fifth. Cam Magee drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 2-1, before cleanup hitter Drew Compton laced a bases-clearing double off the center field wall to put the GreenJackets in the lead 4-2. Kade Kern drove him home one batter later, and Augusta exited the fifth up 5-2. Elison Joseph worked the sixth and allowed two runs to score, but Estarlin Rodriguez pitched a scoreless seventh to record the save as the GreenJackets won 5-4. Wall picked up the win in his debut.
In game two, Samuel Strickland got the nod for Augusta, and the Fireflies once again scored first with two runs coming across in inning number one. The GreenJackets played some small ball to get one run back in the bottom of the first, with Compton driving in his fourth run of the day on a fielder’s choice to make it 2-1. The Fireflies added another run in the second to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Adam Shoemaker ended up entering in relief in the third inning with the bases loaded, but he induced a groundout to retire the side. Shoemaker pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless work, as bizarre baserunning from both teams turned the second game into something of a disaster-class on the infield. Augusta was able to pull within one when Jair Casanova drove home a run with a two-out single in the sixth, but Ben Sears was able to secure the save for the visitors in the 3-2 game.
Augusta remains home this week for one more game with the Columbia Fireflies (Kansas City Royals), tomorrow at 1:35! To purchase tickets and learn more about tomorrow’s promotions, visit https://www.milb.com/augusta/fans/gj-homestand-preview.
COURTESY AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS