New Lexington Legends manager Brooks Conrad’s expectations for the team
The Lexington Legends allowed only one hit in defeating the Augusta GreenJackets in their South Atlantic League playoff opener on Wednesday night.
On Friday night, the defending league champions will hand the ball to a former University of Kentucky standout to get them to the next round of the postseason.
Jon Heasley allowed one run on one hit and struck out six over seven innings Wednesday night at North Augusta, S.C., as the Legends defeated the GreenJackets 2-1 in the opener of the teams’ best-of-three Southern Division championship series.
Games 2 and, if necessary, 3 are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. The winner of this series faces the winner of the Northern Division championship series between the Delmarva Shorebirds and Hickory Crawdads for the South Atlantic League title. Hickory beat Delmarva in their opening game Wednesday night, 4-3.
When the Legends-GreenJackets series resumes in Lexington at 7:05 p.m. Friday, the Legends will start Zach Haake, a sixth-round pick out of Kentucky in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. Haake went 4-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 75.2 innings across 18 starts this season.
Haake faced Augusta twice during the regular season, both times on the road. On June 28, he pitched five innings of one-hit ball to earn the victory in a 1-0 Lexington win. On Aug. 23, he allowed one run on four hits over four innings and took a no-decision as the GreenJackets beat the Legends 2-1.
Haake will face right-hander Kai-Wei Teng (3-0, 1.55 ERA) on Friday. Augusta, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, acquired Teng from the Minnesota Twins organization on Aug. 9.
On Wednesday night, it was Heasley’s turn for magnificence. The 22-year-old right-hander from Oklahoma State limited Augusta to only one hit, a home run by Tyler Fitzgerald in the seventh inning. Heasley, a 13th-round draft pick by the Legends last year who went 8-5 during the 2019 regular season, walked one in pitching six innings of no-hit ball before the homer. Brandon Marklund picked up the save, not allowing a base runner over the final two innings and striking out one.
The Legends scored their first run off Augusta starter Norwith Gudino on Jeison Guzman’s solo home run to right field in the fourth inning. Guzman also played a key role in creating the Legends’ game-winning run in the eighth inning.
Second baseman Rubendy Jaquez singled with one out off GreenJackets reliever Adam Oller. Guzman then singled, and two throwing errors on the play allowed Jaquez to round the bases and score.
Guzman, the Legends’ shortstop, finished the night 3-for-4 to lead Lexington’s five-hit attack.
GreenJackets at Legends
What: Game 2 of best-of-three South Atlantic League Southern Division championship series
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington
When: 7:05 p.m.