FILE PHOTO Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.
FILE PHOTO Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.

Late Red Sox rally ruins GreenJackets’ shutout bid May 19

(Story courtesy Augusta GreenJackets)

NORTH AUGUSTA – Garrett Baumann twirled six brilliant innings, but quiet bats and a late Salem onslaught handed Augusta a late loss in the series finale Sunday afternoon.

Baumann allowed just three hits in his second consecutive quality start, stymieing the Red Sox at every turn. Baumann struck out four and did not walk a batter, setting himself up as the pitcher of record early.

Salem’s starter Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz was no slouch in his own right, working five strong innings with just one run allowed. The only mark on his scorecard came in fourth, when Jace Grady led off the inning with a double over the head of right fielder Johstynxon Garcia. Grady stole third one batter later and subsequently scored on a sacrifice fly from Luis Sanchez. The run would be all Augusta could muster, as Rodriguez-Cruz budged no further, and reliever Royman Blanco worked three scoreless innings.

Baumann’s day ended after the sixth, and Adam Shoemaker was brought in for his second appearance of the week and first out of the bullpen. Shoemaker did not allow a hit or run in his first two innings, setting up a tense 1-0 game in the ninth inning.

The tension would grow immediately, as Garcia led off the frame with a towering home run to deep left center field to tie the game. Shoemaker would keep the game at that mark, giving Augusta a chance to walk-off the Red Sox in the bottom half against closer Max Carlson. Carlson allowed a leadoff double to Jace Grady, who would move up on a Sanchez fielder’s choice. The GreenJackets had men at first and third with two outs, but Carlson got Diego Benitez to ground out to shortstop to send the game to extra innings.

Salem went to task in the 10th against newcomer Rolando Gutierrez, who was making his 2024 GreenJackets debut after being called up from the FCL on Saturday morning. The sidearming lefty did not fool many hitters, with Salem scoring thrice thanks to RBI singles from Antonio Anderson and Garcia. The lead could have grown even further, but Robert Gonzalez made a fantastic throw to the plate for the second out of the inning that kept the game tied with two outs until Anderson came through. The GreenJackets went down quietly in the 10th, giving Carlson his first professional win and sending Salem home victorious by a score of 4-1.

Augusta drops a six-game series at home for the second time this year, and now sits at 17-21 on the season. The road gets no easier next week, as the GreenJackets remain at home to host the first-place Kannapolis Cannon Ballers for six games beginning on Tuesday. The Red Sox returns home having won seven of 12 on their lengthy road trip and will face off with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers in Salem next week.

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