Didier Fuentes. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News FILE
Didier Fuentes. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News FILE

GreenJackets post Juneteenth shutout win

(Story courtesy Noah Adcock-Howeth, Augusta GreenJackets)

SALEM, VA. – Incredible pitching and pace of play highlighted a Wednesday win as the GreenJackets quickly knocked off the Red Sox 2-0 in the fastest game of the season, totaling just an hour and 50 minutes. 

Didier Fuentes has always had a penchant for working quickly, but took it to a new level June 19 after finding an early rhythm against Salem’s offense. Fuentes struck out two in a perfect first and never looked back, retiring the first 13 batters he faced in his most dominant outing thus far in his young career. Having just turned 19 on Monday, the young arm struck out seven and did not walk a batter, with the only man reaching against him coming from a one-out single from Marvin Alcantara in the fifth.

Offensively, the GreenJackets were predominantly quiet, but took advantage of early defensive miscues to take a small lead that they would neither grow nor relinquish late. The Jackets scored in the first against starter Luis Cohen as Isaiah Drake began the game with a double, advancing to third on an error when the second baseman was unable to catch the throw in. Will Verdung knocked a bouncer through the drawn-in infield, and gave Augusta the lead. The ‘Jackets would load the bases in the third on an error, walk, and infield single before Verdung drew a walk that brought home the second and final run of the day.

Each side got dominant performances from their bullpen, with special mention warranted regarding Salem’s Michael Sansone. The soft-tossing southpaw worked 4.2 innings behind Cohen, and did not allow a hit, with the only baserunner coming on the 3rd error of the night from the Red Sox defense. Over two appearances against the GreenJackets, Sansone has now worked 8.2 innings and allowed just one hit, with no runs scoring. Sansone kept the Sox in the game, but they couldn’t string anything together offensively.

After a career-high six scoreless from Fuentes, the GreenJackets turned to the bullpen and called upon LJ McDonough. The righty allowed a bit of hard contact, but strong defense including a phenomenal leaping catch from P-O Boucher where he collided with the left field wall allowed McDonough to work two scoreless. Will Silva was given the ninth in his first ninth inning save situation of the year, and the righty continued his dominant run of success by retiring the side in order. Silva earned his second save of the year, and has now worked 6.1 consecutive scoreless innings over four outings.

Thursday marks the final game of the first half of the season, with every team’s record returning to 0-0 Friday morning. The first half’s two playoff slots have officially been claimed, with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers winning the South Division and the Carolina Mudcats taking the crown in the North. The half’s finale will feature Davis Polo’s return to the rotation after a week as a piggyback arm behind Kadon Morton, taking on the dominant lefty JoJo Ingrassia who has been fantastic this season. First pitch is scheduled for approximately 7:05 p.m. from Carilion Clinic Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The GreenJackets will be back at home beginning Tuesday, June 25 for a six-game series against the Charleston RiverDogs, who they host for the second time this season. Key moments of the upcoming homestand include Pickleball Night, Faith & Family Night and Pirates of the Savannah River Night. Tickets and more info about all the things happening at SRP Park can be found at greenjacketsbaseball.com

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