The Augusta GreenJackets clinched the South Atlantic League Southern Division second-half title with a 13-4 win over the Lexington Legends Wednesday night. The win gave Augusta a six and one-half game lead over Lexington and Rome with five games to play.
The Legends moved in front on Bubba Starling’s two-run homer in the top of the first inning, but solo shots by Shawn Payne and Mitch Delfino in the bottom of the first evened the score.
Augusta took the lead for good with two runs in the second inning. Ben Turner led off with a bunt single, and Andrew Cain was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Pare, and after Travious Relaford walked to load the bases, Payne popped out to first baseman Mark Threlkeld in foul territory down the right field line. Turner tagged up and scored after the catch, and Cain came home on Threlkeld’s throwing error, giving the GreenJackets a 4-2 lead.
Augusta added three more runs in the third, two coming on a bases-loaded single by Cain. Cain eventually scored as part of a double steal, and Augusta led 7-2.
Each team added a run in the fifth, and Augusta broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Relaford led off with a double, and moved to third as shortstop Raul Mondesi committed an error on a ground ball hit by Payne. Alberto Robles hit a pop fly in foul territory to Fred Ford, who had moved to first base when Threlkeld had to take over as catcher after injuries to Cam Gallagher and Jin-Ho Shin.
Ford made the catch, but then threw high to home, allowing Relaford to score as Payne moved to second. Mitch Delfino singled, moving Payne to third, and Payne scored as third baseman Hunter Dozier committed a throwing error after fielding a grounder hit by Shayne Houck.
Chuckie Jones struck out, but with Turner at bat, a wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third, and both scored on Turner’s single, giving the GreenJackets a 12-3 lead. Turner moved to second on a wild pitch, and later scored the final Augusta run on Pare’s single.
The Legends scored their fourth run in the eighth inning on a single by Threlkeld, a wild pitch and a single by Starling.
Augusta starter Kendry Flores (10-6) worked the first six innings to get the win. He allowed four hits and three runs, struck out three batters and walked none.
Legends starter Christian Binford (8-7) took the loss.
The Legends later learned that Gallagher had suffered a broken right hand when hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. He will miss the five remaining games. Gallagher was out from April 24-June 10 this season after suffering a broken left hand when hit by a pitch.
The GreenJackets have won the first two games of the series, which concludes Thursday with the Legends’ final road game of the season. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
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