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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Savannah loses winner-take-all finale

By Adam Rubin

GREENSBORO 7, SAVANNAH 3: The Savannah Sand Gnats came within one strike of the South Atlantic League championship Friday night before losing in extra innings. A night later, it was the Greensboro Grasshoppers who celebrated the league crown with a victory in the winner-take-all Game 5. The title is the first for Greensboro since the then-Hornets won consecutive South Atlantic League titles from 1980 through 1982. The Gnats took a 2-0 lead Saturday with a two-run third. After Juan Gamboa walked, Alonzo Harris ripped an RBI double down the left-field line for the game’s first run. Harris scored two pitches later on Darrell Ceciliani’s single into right field. However, the Grasshoppers took control of the game with a five-run fourth. Savannah starter Angel Cuan began the inning by retiring the first two batters. After a single, Isaac Galloway tripled off the base of the center-field wall to cut the Gnats’ advantage to 2-1. Noah Perio, whose single evened the game in the ninth inning Friday, smacked a nearly identical hit in the fourth inning Saturday to tie the score at 2. Marcel Ozuna then ripped a double up the left-center gap to score Perio and put the Hoppers in front for good. Greensboro tacked on two unearned runs, chasing Cuan, who was charged with the loss. The Grasshoppers scored twice on an Ozuna single in the fifth against reliever Adam Kolarek to build a 7-2 lead. Greensboro starter Kyle Winters held the Gants to three runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for the win.  Greensboro out-hit Savannah, 16-6. The Gnats scored their final run of the season to make the score 7-3 in the seventh, when Harris tripled and scored on an error. Harris was 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two runs scored. The 2011 Sand Gnats accomplishments included winning the Southern Division championship and capturing the first-half title in the SAL Southern Division for the second straight year. Box

Compiled from team report