For the first time all season, the Augusta GreenJackets are above the .500 mark on the season, a distinction earned on the final day of the 2009 South Atlantic League first half with a 6-2 win over the Rome Braves on Sunday afternoon. The Jackets, at 35-34, now set their sights on second-half glory.
Augusta got on the board early and then held off a late Braves rally. Juan Perez, who will compete in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game on Tuesday, led off the second with his seventh dinger of the year to give the Jackets the early advantage. Josh Mazzola doubled home a pair an inning later and scored on Andy D'Alessio's two-bagger to put the GreenJackets ahead by three more.
Mike Loree would need just those few runs, pitching a 7.1 inning masterpiece in what was tied for his longest outing of the season. Loree (4-5) allowed a run on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk. He's now won three of his last four starts, with two coming against Rome.
The only run scored off Loree came in the fourth when a Vladimir Frias throwing error on a would-be double play allowed Luis Sumoza to score from third. Frias got the run back in the fourth on a sacrifice fly and the Jackets added another in the fifth on an Ehire Adrianza RBI single.
Trailing by five, Rome mounted a rally in the ninth. Calvin Culver led off with a solo home run and then with a runner on, pinch-hitter Braden Schlehuber doubled to put another on the board for Rome. Schlehuber then scored on Chais Fuller's sacrifice fly to make it a two-run game. Edwin Quirarte slammed the door shut, picking up the final three outs with the tying run at the plate to earn his third save of the season.
Brett DeVall (4-4) takes the loss for Rome, allowing six runs on ten hits with a walk and six strikeouts.