SAL Playoffs: Gnats Crush GreenJackets

A: Savannah Sand Gnats 10, Augusta GreenJackets (SF) 2 

gabriel-ynoa-240x135On a warm night in Augusta, everything came up Gnats as Savannah used a six-run fifth to salt away the GreenJackets early behind a dominant pitching performance from Gabriel Ynoa.

The Gnats scored their first three runs on two RBI singles from Maikis De La Cruz and a Brandon Nimmo RBI groundout. Then, with the bases loaded in the fifth, Stefan Sabol unloaded them with a booming double to the base of the centerfield wall. Augusta starter Martin Agosta just did not have his good stuff as he was down to 86-89 by the third inning and his slider flattened out in the upper 70s. He had made three starts since returning from the disabled list and looked like a guy just out of gas.

How surprising was the Gnats hanging 10 on the road? It was the first time since June 27th that Savannah scored 10 runs in a game.

Offensive heros included Sabol, who was 3-for-5 with 4 RBI, De La Cruz who was 3-for-5 with a double, and Eudy Pina who reached base three times from the leadoff spot and Brandon Nimmo who just keeps getting on base: he was 2-for-4 with a walk and a clean hard single against a LHP, pulling a liner into right-center.

Meanwhile, on the hill, Gabriel Ynoa was dominant for Savannah. He needed just 62 pitches to finish off six shutout innings. He was sitting 91-93 and mixing in his changeup and slider, which was a very effective weapon for him. He became fatigued in the seventh and eighth innings, losing a little steam on his fastball (down to 88-90 on the stadium gun) and bite on the slider. The 20-year-old’s line: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.

The series now shifts back to Savannah, for game two Friday, and if necessary, game three, Saturday. This win on the road, dramatically increases the Gnats’ odds of advancing. Dating back to 2009, the last five times the #1 seed has won game one, they have gone on to win the best-of-three first round series, four of five times sweeping it in two games. The last time a #2 seed lost game one at home and came back to win the series by taking two on the road was the 2008 West Virginia Power who beat the Lake County Captains, who now play in the Midwest League.

This is Sabol’s game-changing double:

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