The Savannah Sand Gnats are headed for the South Atlantic League championship series. They twice defeated the Augusta GreenJackets, and now await the winner of Saturday night’s one game showdown between the West Virginia Power and Hagerstown Suns.
Wednesday night’s opening game (of their best two of three series) in Augusta turned into a Sand Gnats rout. Gabriel Ynoa started for Savannah, and coasted through 7.2 innings. He allowed just two earned runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four to earn the win. Reliever Paul Sewald finished off the final 1.1 innings, racking up four strikeouts.
Savannah’s ten runs were highlighted by a six run sixth inning, and a two run ninth to stamp a dominant Game One victory. Left fielder Stefan Sabol went 3 for 5 in the game, with a double and four runs batted in. Right fielder Maikis De La Cruz also went 3 for 5, with a double and two runs batted in. Shortstop Phillip Evans contributed Savannah’s only home run in that big sixth inning.
On Friday, the series shifted to Grayson Stadium for Game Two. Steven Matz climbed the hill for Savannah, and pitched one hit, shutout baseball for seven brilliant innings. He walked no batters and struck out eight before yielding to the bullpen. Relievers Paul Sewald and Beck Wheeler tossed the final two innings, allowing Augusta just one more hit while striking out four, and preserving a 5-0 series clinching shutout.
All five of the Sand Gnats runs came off GreenJackets starter Kendry Flores, who lasted 6.1 innings before departing the game on the losing side. For a second straight game Maikis De La Cruz delivered two RBI, while Brandon Nimmo supplied Savannah’s other three runs batted in. Brandon was 2 for 3 in the game, with a triple.
The Savannah Sand Gnats will be on the road beginning Monday evening for Game One, then Game Two of the South Atlantic League championship series. The five game series will then shift to Savannah, Georgia for games three through five, if necessary.