Didier Fuentes threw the first pitch of the 2023 season for the Augusta GreenJackets at SRP Park in North Augusta, SC. on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.
Didier Fuentes threw the first pitch of the 2023 season for the Augusta GreenJackets at SRP Park in North Augusta, SC. on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.

Charleston bests Augusta in 11 innings May 2

(Story courtesy Augusta GreenJackets)

NORTH AUGUSTA – Each offense mustered just one run through nine innings, but it was the Charleston RiverDogs claiming the victory after 11 hard-fought innings from both ballclubs at SRP Park May 2. The Augusta GreenJackets suffered their first extra-inning defeat of the year and fell to 11-13 overall.

Starters Didier Fuentes and T.J. Nichols each allowed just one run in their respective endeavors, and the bullpens held firm through regulation. Charleston struck first in the fourth, after Tre’ Morgan led off the frame with a double to right and scored when Angel Mateo roped a double of his own over Kade Kern’s head in left. The fourth would be the final frame of the night for Fuentes, who was supplanted by Beau Philip. Philip had the best outing of his career, working three scoreless innings to keep the game close.

Augusta found scant offense against Nichols, but Will Verdung equalized the contest in the sixth with a one out home run to tie the game at one run apiece. It was the first of the year and second of the career for Verdung, who continues to heat up as the calendar flips to May. Nichols lasted six strong innings, and his replacement Chris Villamin, making his professional debut did not allow a run in either the seventh or eighth.

Both offenses threatened late but could not break through. Will Silva came in for the eighth and worked around an error and a single that put the go-ahead run at third with two outs, forcing Bryan Broecker to line out softly to shortstop. Augusta had their chance in the ninth against Luis Hernandez, with a walk and a single putting two on and nobody out. Hernandez battled back to the tune of a weak pop up and two punch outs to send the game to extras.

Once into the tenth frame, the use of the automatic runner at second aided both sides into finding some offensive output. Following a sac bunt to put automatic runner Noah Myers at third, back to back RiverDogs reached on errors, with two runs scoring in the top half. The GreenJackets responded in the bottom half, with RBI singles from Robert Gonzalez and Jacob Godman tying the game back up. Gonzalez was in position to score the winning run on Godman’s single but was baited into not sliding by catcher Bryan Broecker and tagged out at the plate.

Charleston would take the lead for good in the 11th, with another sac bunt and a subsequent wild pitch from new reliever Giomar Diaz making the score 4-3. Augusta moved their automatic runner to 3rd in the home half, but back to back ground balls to short from Drew Compton and Kade Kern dashed the hopes of another comeback. Hernandez earned his first professional win, while Samuel Mejia earned the save after navigating the 11th. Diaz took the loss despite not giving up an earned run, and his record is 0-1 while his ERA sits at 0.00.

Augusta will turn to 19-year-old right-hander Garrett Baumann to even the series May 3 back up at two wins a piece. The RiverDogs turn to Owen Wild, the seventh round righty out of Gonzaga. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m., with the GreenJackets going “off to the races” as they celebrate Derby Day with a t-shirt giveaway on the eve of the big race.

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