KINSTON, NC – The Augusta GreenJackets (Atlanta Braves) got back-to-back homers in the seventh inning to down the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers) on Friday, 5-2.
The Wood Ducks (29-35, 66-59) scored the game’s first two runs, but the GreenJackets (30-34, 61-68) scored the final five, using a two-run fifth and three-run seventh to even the series at two games apiece and give Riley Gowens his first professional win.
The GreenJackets were led out by Garrett Baumann, Atlanta’s fourth-round selection in this last year’s draft. Baumann, out of the same high school as former GreenJacket Vaughn Grissom, struck out the first batter he faced in affiliated baseball. A bunt single and two walks loaded the bases before an RBI groundout from Devin Hurtle delivered the game’s first run to the Woodies.
Baumann would make it through the second inning, only allowing the one bunt hit and the one run. Giomar Diaz entered in the third, and after a throwing error advanced Konnor Piotto to third base, a sacrifice fly from Ian Moller put the Wood Ducks up 2-0. Diaz’s day ended after one inning of work as he was charged with one unearned run, as Riley Gowens entered for Augusta and pitched a scoreless fourth.
The GreenJackets went scoreless for the first four innings against Down East’s David Davalillo, before the bats awoke in the fifth. Will Verdung singled and Kade Kern reached on an error before Jeremy Celedonio roped a double down the left-field line to bring Augusta to within one. Tyler Collins plated Kern with a sacrifice fly two batters later to even the score at 2-2.
Gowens worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth inning, setting Augusta up for a pivotal seventh frame. Kade Kern led off the inning by hooking his second homer of the season just inside the left-field foul pole, before Jeremy Celedonio launched his team-high 16th homer the very next at-bat. The homers marked the second time this season that Augusta went back-to-back. Dawson Dimon proceeded to reach on a walk, before an RBI single from Drew Compton on a hit-and-run gave Augusta a 5-2 lead at the stretch.
Gowens finished off the seventh, ceding his place to Nolan Martinez, who picked up the six-out save for his third of the season. Gowens picked up his first professional victory, while Augusta evened up the series at two games apiece. Celedonio’s homer was his 16th of the season, placing him one shy of Tim Elko for the Carolina League home run crown. The win also marked Augusta’s 15th Friday win this year, far and away their winningest day of the week.
The GreenJackets close out the 2023 season with just two more games on the road against the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers).