Isaiah Drake of the GreenJackets hits a triple in the first inning against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at SRP Park on June 4, 2024. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.
Isaiah Drake of the GreenJackets hits a triple in the first inning against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at SRP Park on June 4, 2024. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.

Pelicans drop GreenJackets June 4

(Story courtesy Augusta GreenJackets)

NORTH AUGUSTA – The Augusta GreenJackets posted two runs in the first but would not cross home plate after that as they fell to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3-2 to begin June 4 at SRP Park.

After first pitch was delayed 10 minutes due to late afternoon storms, both starting pitchers struggled to find their footing in the first.

Didier Fuentes of the Augusta GreenJackets throws a pitch against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at SRP Park on June 4,2024. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News.

Didier Fuentes took the ball for the GreenJackets and retired the first two men he faced, but allowed a 2-out walk to Cristian Hernandez to bring cleanup man Alfonsin Rosario to the dish. The center fielder and product of P27 Academy in Lexington, S.C. ambushed a 1-0 fastball and absolutely demolished it to the patio of the apartment building beyond left field at SRP Park for a 2-0 lead.

Augusta came out swinging as well against starter Luis Rujano, who was making just his second appearance in the last 25 days. Isaiah Drake began the bottom of the first with a triple, then subsequently scored on a Will Verdung RBI single. Verdung would tie the game by scoring on a wild pitch, and after a long inning for Rujano, he was pulled after the first for the second straight start.

Both pitching staffs would take control from there, as Fuentes and reliever Vince Reilly traded zeroes in the second and third. The deciding run of the night would come in the fourth, when Andy Garriola led off by reaching on a broken bat single. Catcher Miguel Pabon followed and hit a double off the fence, which ricocheted so firmly off the wall it bounced halfway back to the infield, sending Robert Gonzalez chasing after it and allowing Garriola to score from first. The run would prove to be the difference maker, and hand Fuentes his third straight loss as he falls to 1-3 in his second season with the GreenJackets.

Both bullpens were fabulous throughout the night, with neither side allowing a run once the starter was gone. Reilly went 2.2 hitless for the Pelicans, and was replaced by Kenten Egbert, who was the planned piggyback arm behind Rujano.

Egbert allowed one hit and struck out eight through 4.1 innings, shutting down the Augusta offense that lost two of its key contributors Tuesday. Drew Compton and Jace Grady were promoted to High-A Rome. Closer Shane Marshall, a former University of Georgia catcher moved to the mound in his first healthy pro season, finished the game with a perfect ninth for his fourth save in as many tries. Augusta’s bullpen was equally impressive, as Juan Sanchez, Reibyn Corona and Beau Philip combined to allow just two hits and no runs in five innings.

The Pelicans will send Mason McGwire to the hill Wednesday, the only scheduled starter of the week for Myrtle Beach to not have a scheduled piggyback arm behind him. The son of famed slugger Mark McGwire has struggled with command at times, but has been very effective when in the zone. The GreenJackets’ starter for Wednesday is to-be-determined, as Luis Vargas was slated to throw but was also promoted to Rome Tuesday.

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