Mazzola ends 2009 GreenJackets season in style

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The Augusta GreenJackets shot off fireworks after Saturday's game but Josh Mazzola saved his for the season finale on Monday afternoon. The South Atlantic League postseason All-Star had four hits, including a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning to lead his team to a 6-5 win in the season finale against the Rome Braves at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Mazzola's performance capped a fine season for the GreenJackets first baseman in which he led his team with 16 home runs and 30 doubles while leading the South Atlantic League with 96 runs batted in, the most any GreenJacket has knocked in since Brandon Moss brought home 101 in 2004. He doubled twice to go along with the single and home run that capped his day.

The GreenJackets got out to an early lead on Wendell Fairley's RBI double in the second to make it a 1-0 game. Of Augusta's 15 hits, ten were doubles. The Jackets added two more in the third on a Jose Flores groundout and an Ehire Adrianza sacrifice fly and pushed the lead to 5-0 in the fourth on run-scoring doubles from Francisco Peguero and Josh Mazzola.

Rome stayed in the ballgame and tied it with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eight. Braeden Schlehuber cleared the bases with a seventh-inning double to make it a two-run contest. After Matt Kramer's single cut the Augusta lead to a run, Samuel Sime reached on a double play ball when Kramer's slide took out second baseman Juan Perez and allowed the tying run to score. The GreenJackets left ten runners stranded on base in the ballgame.

Mazzola's eventual game-winner came with two outs in the eighth inning and set the stage for Chris Wilson to pick up the final three outs of Augusta's season. Wilson (5-5) was able to do so, firing 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen with two strikeouts to give the GreenJackets their 76th and final win of the 2009 campaign.

Matthew Small (1-3) takes the loss after allowing the Mazzola home run in the only inning he pitched in the game.

Under manager Dave Machemer, the 2009 GreenJackets finished the second half with a 41-29 record and an overall record of 76-63 - the best in the Southern Division over the full season. They'll open the 2010 season in Greensboro on April 9th and host their home opener on April 16th next year against the Charleston RiverDogs.