GreenJackets falter in 9th in 3-2 loss

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Friday, June 12, 2009.

The Augusta GreenJackets were three outs away from returning to the .500 mark on the season and handing their manager Dave Machemer his 1,300th career minor league managerial win but the Savannah Sand Gnats had other ideas. Savannah rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to hand Augusta a 3-2 loss, only their second in the last seven games.

Raul Reyes led off the ninth inning with a single off Chris Wilson, the fourth Augusta pitcher of the night. Matt Gaski was attempting a sacrifice bunt and laid one down the first base line. Wilson's throw to first was wide of the bag and went into the Savannah bullpen. While Reyes raced around the bases, right fielder Josh Mazzola fought through the maze of Sand Gnats relievers that were scattered, attempting to get out of the way. When Mazzola got to the ball, Reyes had scored to tie the game and Gaski was standing on third. Arguments from the GreenJackets for a dead ball fell on deaf ears.

Machemer then brought Vladimir Frias into the game as a fifth infielder and with just two outfielders, Jean Luc Blaquiere's hit to left-center went all the way to the wall, scoring Gaski from third and setting off a Sand Gnats celebration.

The GreenJackets rallied to take the lead for the second time in the seventh after Savannah tied things in the sixth. Gaski's RBI single tied the game at one after an early GreenJackets run. Augusta scored their two runs on groundouts - one in the second by Charlie Culberson and another in the seventh from Johnny Monell.

Eric Stolp, in a spot start, threw five scoreless innings of two-hit baseball for Augusta in a no decision. Stolp allowed just two hits and walked three in his first professional start in four minor league seasons. Most impressively, all 15 outs Stolp recorded were on groundouts.

Manny Olivares (1-3) picked up the win in relief of Savannah starter Chris Schwinden. He fired 2.2 scoreless innings of two-hit baseball with a walk and a strikeout. Wilson (1-2) picks up the loss without retiring a batter in the ninth. He was charged with two runs - one earned - on two hits.