Mike Adams/FILE
Mike Adams/FILE

Explosive eighth inning pushes Fireflies over GreenJackets

(Story courtesy Noah Adcock-Howeth, Augusta GreenJackets)

NORTH AUGUSTA – The Augusta GreenJackets carried a 2-0 lead into the top of the eighth but watched Columbia post eight straight runs in the final two offensive chances to seize an 8-2 win Friday.

Adam Shoemaker was thrust into a spot start early this morning after Garrett Baumann was scratched, and fought command issues to push through four scoreless frames. Shoemaker tied his season high with five walks but struck out six. Augusta’s offense was silenced through the first three looks, but finally lit a spark in the bottom half of the fourth as Jacob Godman crushed a solo shot to left for his second long ball of the year and a 1-0 lead.

Augusta would double the lead in the fifth, greeting reliever Ismael Michel with a leadoff walk from Robert Gonzalez. Gonzalez would score less than a batter later, as he stole second, advanced to third on an error and scored on a balk. The run would be the final one for Augusta, as the rest of the Firefly bullpen slammed the door over the back half.

The first man out of the bullpen for Augusta was Anthony Garcia, and the righty made his second appearance in a GreeenJacket uniform an impressive one as he did not allow a run in three innings. Garcia struck out a career-high tying four batters including each of the last three he faced to send the team to the seventh with a 2-0 lead.

The lead fell apart in the eighth as Reibyn Corona was attacked from all sides in his second appearance of the week. Each of the first four batters of the inning reached on three hits and a hit by pitch, the latter of which led to manager Wynston Sawyer being ejected for the second time in his career. The Fireflies took a 3-2 lead with two outs, and doubled their run total all at once with Erick Torres’ first homer of the season. Columbia would add two more runs in the ninth off of Rolando Gutierrez, capping the win with the most runs the squad has scored this week.

The series finale will pit Maurecio Veliz against the rehabbing Ian Anderson, who is expected to throw about 60 pitches. Following Saturday’s game and subsequent fireworks, both sides get a pair of off days before the GreenJackets host the Fayetteville Woodpeckers and the Fireflies travel to the coast to take on the Charleston RiverDogs.

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