Zawadzki’s Walk-off Completes Miracle Comeback

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

16 hours after one of the most improbable comeback’s in Gwinnett Braves history, shock and disbelief is still surrounding Coolray Field. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs were up 8-0 at one point in the game on Memorial Day and led the G-Braves 8-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning. There is no way a Ryne Sandberg led ‘Pigs team would ever blow a five-run lead with just three outs remaining, right? Well, Lance Zawadzki emphatically disagreed with that question, as he blasted a two-out, three-run walk-off home run for the G-Braves 31st victory of the season.

Ernesto Mejia doubled in Christian Marrero for the first run of the ninth inning, and Joey Terdoslavich added an RBI single scoring Stefan Gartrell. Then Jose Yepez singled through the left side of the diamond to score Mejia, cutting the deficit to two. With Gwinnett trailing 8-6 and down to their last out, the table was set for Zawadzki. The second baseman belted a 0-1 pitch from IronPigs’ reliever Michael Schwimer onto the right-field berm for his first home run of the season, capping the six-run comeback and giving the G-Braves their fifth walk-off win of the season.

Zawadzki finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs on the night, the most by a G-Brave in a single game this season. His home run, along with a two-run single in the sixth, helped Gwinnett match their largest come-from-behind victory of the season. The club also rallied from an eight-run deficit to beat Norfolk, 14-12 in 11 innings, on April 11 in Norfolk, VA. Marrero also belted a pinch-hit solo home run off Lehigh Valley starter Dave Bush to help the G-Braves get rolling in the sixth.

The six-run scoring barrage wasn’t even the biggest comeback of the season for the G-Braves in their final at-bat. Just days into the 2012 season, Gwinnett found themselves down seven runs entering the ninth inning on April 11, in Norfolk. Somehow, the visiting G-Braves scored seven runs as Jose Constanza delivered the game-tying hit in the ninth alongside the game-winning hit in the 12th inning.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Five Gwinnett Braves have recorded a walk-off winner this season, all different players:

Drew Sutton roped an extra inning, game-winning double against Norfolk in the early part of the season for the G-Braves first of five walk-off winners.

Stefan Gartrell blasted a walk-off home run against Buffalo in the 12th inning for the first win of the season for Gwinnett against Wally Backman’s Bisons’.

The very next game Luis Durango stole the show as he roped a two-out RBI single that defeated Toledo in the first game of a doubleheader from Coolray Field.

Later in the series against Toledo, in which the G-Braves won four of the five games against the Mud Hens, Jose Yepez lifted a sacrifice fly ball that scored the game-winning run from third base in the first game of the second doubleheader in the series.

And now, all the attention surrounds G-Braves’ newcomer Zawadzki who finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs on the night, the most by a G-Brave in a single game this season. His home run, along with a two-run single in the sixth, helped Gwinnett match their largest come-from-behind victory of the season and left the people of Gwinnett county in a frenzy. Marrero also belted a pinch-hit solo home run off Lehigh Valley starter Dave Bush to help the G-Braves get rolling in the sixth. It was the G-Braves first pinch-hit home run of the 2012 season.

The International League South-leading G-Braves (31-20) continue their 10-game homestand with the second of four games against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (28-23) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Left-hander Yohan Flande (1-3, 3.97) is slated to start for Gwinnett against Lehigh Valley left-hander Pat Misch (3-6, 5.44). The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

By: Tony Piraro

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