(Story courtesy Augusta GreenJackets. Photo by Mike Adams/Augusta Good News)
NORTH AUGUSTA – The Augusta GreenJackets touched down on home plate five times in the fourth inning, sending fans home over the moon with joy in a 5-3 win over the Fredericksburg Nationals at SRP Park.
Fredericksburg (8-12, 38-45) scored three times in the top of the third, but Augusta (10-11, 41-45) raced to five runs in the bottom of the fourth before a storm disrupted the Sea of Tranquility in the crowd to force the game’s conclusion after four and a half innings.
Unlike the moon, SRP Park had plenty of atmosphere on a humid Thursday night. The game began with Owen Murphy on the mound for Augusta, and the former first-round pick retired the side in order in the first and second innings. Riley Cornelio got the nod for the FredNats, and he kept Augusta off the scoreboard through two innings as well. The Nationals planted their flag in the top of the third, scoring three runs on a squeeze bunt and a pair of balks. After a double play kept Augusta scoreless in the third, Samuel Strickland entered in relief of Murphy in the fourth and kept the deficit at three.
Augusta finally had liftoff in the bottom of the fourth, breaking a span of 14 innings without a run. Bryson Worrell singled and stole second, before E.J. Exposito nearly sent a ball into orbit, doubling high off the wall in left to score the run. After Exposito advanced to third, Jeremy Celedonio blooped him home with a single to center. Jose Dilone walked and Nick Clarno reached on an error, loading the bases for Tyler Collins with Augusta trailing by one with two outs. Tyler Collins cracked a high chopper off of the infield dirt that scored the tying run, but the FredNats compounded their mistakes with an errant throw that landed in the bullpen and scored all three runners.
With Augusta up 5-3, Strickland returned to the mound and retired the side in order in the top of the fifth, before a torrential downpour, complete with lightning and gale-force winds, forced the tarp onto the field. With Apollo-gies, the game was made official, delivering Augusta its second 5-inning win this season. It was one small step for Augusta back towards .500, who will hope to leap forward in tomorrow night’s contest.
Augusta remains at home to take on the FredNats for three more games. Promotions include a Spencer Strider Bobblehead giveaway Friday, Military Appreciation Night and more. To purchase tickets and learn more about the week’s homestand, visit https://www.milb.com/augusta/fans/gj-homestand-preview. Augusta will host Columbia in its next homestand beginning Aug. 1.
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