(Story and photo courtesy Augusta GreenJackets)
NORTH AUGUSTA – The Augusta GreenJackets got burned by the long ball on Sunday, as the visiting Myrtle Beach Pelicans wrapped up their dominant SRP Park stay with a homer-filled performance with a 7-1 win.
Myrtle Beach (8-7, 46-33) picked up their 15th win over the GreenJackets this year, while Augusta (7-8, 38-42) could not salvage the series split, surrendering four homers to the Birds in the Sunday finale.
The GreenJackets and Pelicans entered SRP Park on Sunday knowing that the four day all-star break beckoned, and it appeared both sides left the bats at home early. Both Augusta starter Jared Johnson and Myrtle Beach hurler Luis Rujano got through two scoreless innings, with Johnson stranding the bases loaded in the top of the second.
Augusta broke the deadlock in the bottom of the third, when Ambioris Tavarez hit his second home run of the week to put the ‘Jackets up 1-0. Justin Janas singled immediately after, but was stranded aboard as Rujano completed his outing after three full innings. The Pelicans immediately equalized on Malcolm Quintero’s first homer of the year in the top of the fourth, although Jared Johnson did set a new season high in innings pitched by making it through four full innings for the first time since September 2021.
Koen Moreno entered in relief of Rujano, and despite Augusta getting men to second and third with two outs in the fifth, they could not break the tie. Estarlin Rodriguez pitched a scoreless fifth and Adam Shoemaker entered and retired the side in order in the sixth, but the wheels fell off in the top of the seventh. Reivaj Garcia and Andy Garriola each hit two-run shots to left field, putting Myrtle Beach up 5-1. It was more of the same in the eighth, as Pedro Ramirez hit another two-run blast, widening the lead to six. For Myrtle Beach, those home runs gave them 23 long balls in the 24 games against Augusta this year.
Pelicans pitcher Johzan Oquendo was ejected in the bottom of the ninth after an equipment check, but his replacement Starlyn Pichardo was able to maintain the big lead to finish off the game. Augusta will take their four-day break and hit the road against Fayetteville for three games beginning Friday, before returning home to take on the FredNats for six games. To purchase tickets and learn more about next week’s homestand, visit https://www.milb.com/augusta/fans/gj-homestand-preview.
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