CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2011 SAL SOUTHERN DIVISION CHAMPION SAVANNAH SAND GNATS!
Four Savannah pitchers held Augusta down to 1 run and 5 hits, on their way to taking the Southern Division crown for 2011. The win puts them on a collision course with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the affiliate of the Florida Marlins, for the SAL Championship. The Gnats scored single runs in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings, and never looked back, easily defeating the Green Jackets, by a score of 3-1.
Sand Gnats starter RHP Erik Goeddel pitched one of his best games of the season, lasting 5 innings to earn the win, giving up 3 hits, 0 runs, 3 BB’s, 4 K’s, and 1 WP. RHP Ryan Fraser replaced Goeddel in the 6th inning and pitched two scoreless innings with nothing across, striking out one.
LHP Brandon Sage was touched for an unearned run in the 8th, which started when SS Bobby Haney singled to LF to open the inning. Sage retired the next two hitters, and was then replaced by RHP Ronny Morla. A PB on C Albert Cordero, allowed Haney to advance to second. 3B Adam Duvall then singled to CF, sending Haney to third, but when CF Darrell Ceciliani muffed the ball, Haney scored, and Duvall moved to second on the error. Morla then got out of the inning and also pitched a scoreless 9th, picking up the save.
Green Jacket starter, RHP Taylor Rogers pitched pretty decently, going 6 innings, while giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 ER’s, 2 BB’s and 1 K. Pitching in relief of Rogers, LHP Gaspar Santiago and RHP Seth Rosin each threw a scoreless frame.
The Sand Gnats struck first, and fast. Two batters into the bottom of the 1st inning, they scored their first run. Darrell Ceciliani laced a triple to RF leading off the inning, and SS Wifredo Tovar brought him home with a sacrifice fly to CF.
Savannah scored again in the 2nd inning, when 3B Aderlin Rodriguez led off with a double to LF. A wild-pitch moved him to third with one out, and after 2B Luis Nieves walked, LF Alonzo Harris grounded one back to the pitcher. Rogers thought he could get an inning ending DP so instead of throwing home, he whirled and threw to second. They got Nieves at second for the force, but the relay to first was too late to get Harris, allowing Rodriguez to score the second run.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Gnats scored a single run again. The inning started with a walk to Aderlin Rodriguez, and a single by 1B Joe Bonfe. Luis Nieves then sacrificed them to second and third. The next batter, Alonzo Harris, hit a ground ball to Bobby Haney who fielded it quickly and fired home in time to nail Rodriguez trying to score, with Harris now on first, and Bonfe going to third, on the play. Darrell Ceciliani then grounded to first, but 1B Joel Weeks booted it for an error, letting Bonfe score an unearned run.
If there had to be an offensive star of the game, it would be Darrell Ceciliani who went 2 for 3, with a walk, a 3B, and a run scored.
Now the Sand Gnats head to Greensboro, for their clash with the Grasshoppers to determine the 2011 SAL Champion. The best-of-five series begins on Monday night at 7pm. The probable pitcher for the Gnats is LHP Angel Cuan, while the Greensboro starting pitcher is RHP Kyle Winters.