NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WJBF) – The Augusta GreenJackets (32-26) returned home from Columbia for their final homestand of the first half against the rival Charleston RiverDogs (40-18) and Augusta defeated their nemesis in the series opener 6-3 thanks to a strong, all-around effort. 

The scoring started in the second inning with a home run as Brandon Parker continued his strong run at the plate with a two-run homer to score himself and Bradol Mezquita and make it 2-0 GreenJackets. 

They’d double the lead an inning later with Cal Conley sending a long triple off the wall in centerfield to bring Kadon Morton home from second to up the lead to 3-0. The GreenJackets would small-ball Conley home from third as Geraldo Quintero sent a fly ball into center that was plenty deep to advance the Augusta lead to 4-0 on the sacrifice fly. 

The RiverDogs would attempt to work their way back in the ensuing inning with a solo home run by Mason Auer to cut the GreenJackets’ lead down to three at 4-1. They’d tack on another run in the inning on an RBI single by Kenny Piper to trim the deficit down to 4-2. 

However, the GreenJackets kept coming through with answers as they scored again in the fourth on a long RBI double by Adam Zebrowski off the high wall in right field to plate home Brandon Parker and get the lead back to three at 5-2. 

An inning later, Cal Conley would find his way around the basepaths the old-fashioned way with a little league home run. On a bouncer back to the mound, RiverDogs’ pitcher Jonny Cuevas threw the ball away on his toss to first base. Conley then tried to make it to third and the throw from shallow right field got passed third basemen, Willy Vasquez, helping Conley complete the inside-the-park home run with two Charleston errors to make it a 6-2 game. 

In the sixth, the RiverDogs hit their second home run of the game with Kenny Piper sending one out to pull Charleston back within three at 6-3, but they wouldn’t get any closer. 

After another strong start from Luis Vargas, Sam Strickland made his return from the injured list and dealt three innings in his first outing in over a month by allowing just one run, holding the GreenJackets lead in place. 

In the ninth, Miguel Peña came on for the save and he took care of business by putting the RiverDogs away in four batters to complete the 6-3 win. 

Luis Vargas (2-3) earned his second win in a row by tossing five innings with five strikeouts and no walks while allowing just two runs. Charleston starting pitcher Daiveyon Whittle (0-2) was saddled with the defeat for the RiverDogs. 

The GreenJackets’ offense was led by Brandon Parker who reached three times in the game including his third home run of the season in the second inning to make it 2-0 at the time. Cal Conley scored twice while picking up an RBI with his third-inning triple. 

Game two of the series is an afternoon affair at SRP Park as J.J. Niekro faces off with Ben Peoples of Charleston in a Wednesday matinee that begins at 12:05 pm.