Savannah Sand Gnats pitcher Rainy Lara, 22, continued his mound dominance over the South Atlantic League Thursday evening with a brilliant eight inning, shutout performance over the Augusta GreenJackets. However, Augusta’s Kendry Flores was equally up for the challenge with 8.1 shutout innings of his own. Kendry surrendered only three hits, walked three, and fanned seven Sand Gnats before departing the game.
The teams remained scoreless through nine innings. In the eleventh, Savannah parlayed a mix of walks, two fielding errors and three hits into four unearned runs, and six overall, spelling the end for Augusta.
Rainy Lara faced twenty-seven batters over his eight innings pitched and struck out nine. He only allowed two hits and walked one. In relief, Bret Mitchell allowed a hit, walked one, and fanned three in two innings pitched. Beck Wheeler followed with a scoreless eleventh inning, striking out two. Bret Mitchell (1-1) was credited with his first victory. Rainy Lara (4-1) endured his second straight no decision.
This was Lara’s seventh start of the season. He has pitched seven innings or better in each of his last four starts, while Thursday’s eight inning effort was his longest outing so far. In those four starts, he has allowed a total of one run for a 0.31 ERA. This was also the fourth time in seven starts he held opponents without an earned run. Lara entered the game with a season 1.42 ERA, and exited with a 1.17 mark. In forty-six total innings pitched, Rainy has limited opponents to thirty-two hits, and issued only five walks. His nine strikeouts against Augusta tied his season high, and gives him forty-seven for the year.
Rainy Lara leads the South Atlantic League with a 0.80 WHiP, ranks second in the circuit in wins, innings pitched, and ERA, and is also tied for third in strikeouts.
The Sand Gnats will be in Augusta for three more games before returning home. Thursday’s victory pulled the Sand Gnats to within one half game of the GreenJackets and the Charleston River Dogs, who are both currently tied for first place of the SAL Southern Division.