(Story courtesy the Augusta GreenJackets. File photo of the Ambioris Tavares in the season opener against the Wood Ducks by Mike Adams/Augusta Good News)
KINSTON, N.C. – The Augusta GreenJackets (Atlanta Braves) fell in a nail-biter to the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers) on Wednesday, as a pitcher’s duel went the way of the home side in a 1-0 decision. The Wood Ducks (28-34, 65-58) pushed across the game’s lone run in the eighth, while the GreenJackets (29-33, 60-67) were held to just two hits while making three outs on the bases in the loss.
The Wood Ducks and GreenJackets immediately set the tone for the game in the top of the first. Ambioris Tavarez was hit by a pitch, but then was caught stealing as Augusta sent up the minimum to face DJ McCarty. Cade Kuehler allowed the first hit of his career on a well-placed JoJo Blackmon bunt, but that would be the only hit he would allow in his outing. Kuehler retired 13 of the 14 final batters he faced with the lone man to reach doing so on a walk.
The GreenJackets were equally frustrated at the plate, only recording their first hit in the fifth inning. The Jackets had men on first and second to begin the frame, but ran into a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. A Tyler Collins single pushed men to the corners with two outs, but Jeremy Celedonio was caught stealing home as Augusta tried to manufacture the game’s first run on a double steal.
Landon Harper relieved Kuehler with two outs in the fifth, and continued the pitcher’s duel with a scoreless outing of his own. Harper put two men aboard to start the sixth, but got a strikeout and induced a double play to retire the side; in the seventh, Harper allowed a man to reach third, but again stood tall and kept the game even at 0-0.
Cory Wall entered for the bottom of the eighth, and gave up a leadoff single to Devin Hurdle, who stole second base and took third on a balk. Quincy Scott delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to score Hurdle, who became the game’s lone run, as Paul Bonzagni worked a seamless ninth to finish off the game at 1-0.
The GreenJackets close out the 2023 season with four more games on the road against the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers). All games can be heard on the GreenJackets Radio Network at bit.ly/GJRadio.
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