Kelvin Beltre Powers GreenJackets to 7-2 Victory
A night after squandering a three-run lead late, the Augusta GreenJackets were leaving no doubt about this contest, jumping out to a 6-2 lead through four innings, before adding one in the ninth on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs. The loss was the second straight tough outing for Nick Green and saw GreenJackets 2B Kelvin Belte hit his first homerun of the season and drive in three in the win.
Augusta got right to work in the top of the first inning. Anthony Marks and Kevin Rivera started the game with back-to-back walks. That brought Belte to the plate, who drilled a double to the wall in center, scoring both runs and it was 2-0.
In the top of the second, they would extend their lead to four. Brandon Van Horn started the inning by reaching on an error and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later Ashford Fulmer ripped a lined single to right field that scored Van Horn to make it 3-0. Fulmer stole second and scored on an error by Brandon Wagner and it was 4-0.
The RiverDogs would cut into the lead in the bottom of the second. Donny Sands started out the inning with a single but was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Estevan Florial then drew a walk and moved to second when pitcher Stephen Woods pickoff attempt went wild. Brandon Wagner followed with a single to score Florial and it was 4-1.
In the top of the third, Augusta would restore their lead with one swing of the bat. Beltre led off the inning and lined a homerun over the right field wall for his first homer of the season.
Charleston responded with a run in the bottom of the third. Oswaldo Cabrera started the inning with a double down the line in left field. A wild pitch moved him to third and he scored on a ground out by Hoy Jun Park. That made the score 5-2.
Once again, the GreenJackets would do a little responding of their own. In the top of the fourth, Green retired the first two hitters of the inning, but Ashford Fulmer reached on an error by Green to keep the inning alive. A single by Anthony Marks scored Fulmer to make it 6-2.
Augusta added one more run in the ninth. Brandon Van Horn led off the inning with a walk. He stole second and scored on a double by Anthony Marks. That would be the final run of the game.
Stephen Woods (1-0) earned the victory, going 6-innings, allowing 3-hits, 3-walks, and 1-earned run. He struck out 7. Kelvin Beltre was 2-4 with a run, a double, a homerun and 3-RBI. Anthony Marks was also 2-4, and scored a run and drove in 2. Ashford Fulmer was 2-4 with 2-runs and an RBI. The victory was the first of the season for Augusta. The Charleston RiverDogs recorded just 3-hits.
The Charleston RiverDogs (4-2) close out their three games series with the Augusta GreenJackets tomorrow night. Albert Abreu will go for Charleston against Domenic Mazza. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier