Brian Keller, Three Relievers Combine to Blank GreenJackets, 2-0
When the Charleston RiverDogs scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to jump out in front of the Augusta GreenJackets, who knew that would be the only runs of the game as RiverDogs starter Brian Keller tossed 5.1 scoreless innings, combining with three relievers to shut out Augusta in the 2-0 victory. Two bases-loaded walks would lead to both runs scoring in the first.
In the top of the first, Keller found himself in significant trouble when he walked the leadoff batter and then gave up back-to back-singles. However, he got a line out before retiring the final two batters on strikeouts to keep the GreenJackets off the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the first, Charleston responded against Augusta starter Melvin Adon. Hoy Jun Park singled to start the frame but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Diego Castillo. Blake Rutherford followed with a base hit and Estevan Florial reached on an error to load the bases with one down. Donny Sands followed by drawing a walk that plated Castillo and, two batters later, Brandon Wagner walked to drive home Rutherford to make it 2-0.
From there, this became an incredible pitcher’s duel. Keller kept they GreenJackets off the board, but had to do some fancy pitching at times to keep zeros on the scoreboard. That included the second, when he gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, but he would strike out Ashford Fulmer before getting a groundout to end the inning. He then retired the side in order in the third and retired the side around a hit by pitch in the fourth.
In the sixth, the Charleston starter gave up a leadoff walk before striking out Sandro Fabian. That took his pitch count to 94, and he would be pulled from the game. Brian Keller (6-5) went 5.1-innings, allowing 4-hits and 3-walks. He did not give up a run and struck out 7.
David Sosebee came on from the bullpen and went 1.2 perfect innings, striking out 2. Trevor Lane pitched a perfect eighth and, in the ninth, Garrett Mundell looked to close out the game. He walked two of the first three batters, but struck out two in the inning and got a groundout to end the game. His eighth save of the season.
The sad luck loser of the game was Melvin Adon (1-8) who allowed two unearned runs in 6.0-innings of work. He gave up just 3-hits while striking out 8.
These two teams will continue their four-game series tomorrow. Caleb Barager (2-5, 4.04) will start for Augusta. He will be opposed by Austin DeCarr (1-0, 2.03). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05.
By Robert Pannier