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Jackets 'played like they were mad' in rout

August 03, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

The Augusta GreenJackets had not lost four games in succession since June of 2005.

They weren't about to let it happen at the expense of the Hagerstown Suns on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium.

After losing the first three games of the four-game set to the Suns, Augusta emphatically turned the tables on the Suns, coasting to a 13-3 victory. The GreenJackets were first-half champions in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League and their overall season record is now 72-39.

"They played like they were mad," said Suns manager Tommy Herr. "They pretty much steamrolled us tonight."

Augusta was in position to stop its ministreak with one of its top pitchers - Ben Snyder - on the hill with a 12-3 record and 1.88 ERA.

The Suns (13-27 second half) had solo home runs off Snyder in the bottom of the second from Joe Napoli and Francisco Guzman that tied the game 2-2 after the GreenJackets had scored twice in the top of the first off Suns starter Jeff Mandel.

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The game didn't stay tied for long as Augusta answered with five runs in the third, highlighted by a three-run homer by Henry Gutierrez, as the GreenJackets hammered Mandel (2-4) for six hits.

"Everything (Mandel) threw in there they hit," said Herr. "But we had some chances to score more but didn't."

The Suns got a run in the third on an RBI double by Leonard Davis off Snyder, who went five innings for the win.

Hagerstown left a runner in scoring position in the fourth and then stranded runners at second and third with one out in the fifth and two more runners in the seventh.

While Augusta ripped out 18 hits, Hagerstown collected 10, including three hits from Guzman and a pair each from Marcos Cabral and Michael Martinez.

Still, Herr was happy with the series outcome.

"We'll take three of four from a team like Augusta any time," said Herr. "They're a solid team. Hopefully we can keep some momentum and play well into the next series."

Even catcher Pat Nichols got into the act on the mound as Herr tried to save a regular staff arm in the rout. Nichols pitched the ninth inning, allowing two hits but no runs damage and even threw a double play ball.

"He looked like he knew what he was doing," said Herr, who told Nichols in the eighth inning to get ready.

"I threw fastballs and some sliders," said Nichols. "It was pretty neat. I hadn't pitched since the one inning I threw in high school."

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