COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF/GreenJackets Media Relations) – The Augusta GreenJackets (30-25) took down the Columbia Fireflies (15-40) for the third straight night, 6-2 thanks to more brilliance on the mound from J.J. Niekro and another 15-hit performance by the offense.
After a scoreless first inning, Adam Zebrowski put the GreenJackets ahead in the second on a two-run homer to score himself and Brandon Parker to make it 2-0 on Zebrowski’s sixth home run of the season.
That 2-0 would be held in place until the sixth inning when Augusta manufactured a key insurance run. A two-out triple by Kadon Morton set Caleb Durbin up to crack his 33rd RBI of the season on a single to left that scored Morton with ease, making it 3-0.
The Fireflies had nothing going against GreenJackets’ starting pitcher J.J. Niekro who was on a roll all night long as he allowed no runs in seven innings on the mound. Niekro faced just three over the minimum during his start as he achieved seven innings for the second consecutive start.
Columbia came through with some hope once Niekro departed by pulling with a run after a two-run homer by Enrique Valdez in the eighth off of Rob Griswold to make it a 3-2 game. Griswold would rebound and keep the Fireflies off the board for the rest of the inning to hold the one-run lead into the ninth.
However, the GreenJackets wanted no part of a close finish on Friday night as they put the game away in the ninth by scoring three times on four hits. Cal Conley started the inning with a triple and he’d be brought home on a double by Brandol Mezquita to make it 4-2, Mezquita’s second double of the game. The next batter, Brandon Parker, followed suit by delivering his third triple of the season to bring Mezquita in from second to up the lead to 5-2. To put a bow on it, Adam Zebrowski doubled to right-center for his third RBI of the game as Parker scored to give the GreenJackets their largest lead at 6-2.
Tyler Owens took over in the ninth and got through in the inning in four batters to complete Augusta’s third-straight win in Columbia, 6-2.
J.J. Niekro, son of former major league pitcher Joe Niekro and nephew of Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, improved his win-loss record to 5-0 after picking up the win on Friday night while the GreenJackets own a mark of 10-1 in games he’s pitched in this season.
Augusta racked up 15 hits or more for the third consecutive game led by Adam Zebrowski who drove in three runs with his home run and ninth-inning double. Caleb Durbin collected another multi-hit game while picking up his team-best 33rd RBI of the season in the seventh. Kadon Morton and Brandon Parker each had three hits on the night with Brandol Mezquita earning his 18th multi-hit game of the season with two doubles.
Augusta will look to clinch their third series win against the Fireflies on Saturday night with Jordano Perez getting the call for the GreenJackets. He’ll face off with Ben Hernandez for Columbia with first pitch set for 6:05 pm from Segra Park.