Game Preview: G-Braves (1-0) vs. Knights (0-1)
The Gwinnett Braves took the opener last night, 5-4. Sean Gilmartin (1-0) was impressive, hurling five innings, scattering six hits and allowing one run. He picked up his first victory of the season and his second as a G-Brave.
Shortstop Tyler Pastornicky got off to a blazing start, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a stolen base. The Sarosota, FL native looked sharp on the field as well, converting on all five of his chances.
Andrew Russell locked it down for the G-Braves, getting out of a jam in the eighth inning and going on to toss two scoreless frames. The Aussie struck out four of the six hitters he faced. He is now 3-for-5 in save opportunities with the G-Braves.
Tonight, the G-Braves and the Knights will make up Thursday night’s rainout with a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. RHP David Hale (0-0) will square off against RHP Andre Rienzo (0-0) in Game 1, while LHP Daniel Rodriguez (0-0) takes the ball against RHP Tony Pena Jr. (0-0) in Game 2.
Hale was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft out of Princeton University. The former Tiger has bounced around from starter to reliever, however last season he flourished as full time starter in Double-A Mississippi. In 27 starts, Hale went 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA. He topped the Southern League in starts, while finishing fourth in strikeouts (124).
His opponent, Andre Rienzo has been a coveted Chicago (AL) prospect for a few years. Last season, the hard-throwing righty had to battle a 50-game suspension, forcing him to miss a 1/3 of the season. Upon his return, he dominated across three different levels, going 7-3 with a 2.53 ERA. He limited hitters to a combined .206 batting average. Baseball America ranks him the No. 7 prospect in the Sox organization.
In the night cap, Rodriguez will make his third affiliated appearance of his career. The left-hander spent seven years with the Saraperos de Saltillo of the Mexican League. After signing with the Braves on 8/14/12, Rodriguez made two appearances for the G-Braves, going 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six innings. He went 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA with Saltillo last year.
He will go up against Tony Pena Jr. The son of former big league catcher Tony Pena, has bounced around from organizations (ATL, KC, SF, BOS), landing with the White Sox organization in the offseason. Last season with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox’s, he went 1-9 with a 4.75 ERA. The right-hander began his career as a middle infielder for the Atlanta Braves organization in 2000.
Tonight should be a treat, as the G-Braves look to start the season 2-0 for the first time in Franchise history. Joe Leonard will receive his MiLB Gold Glove award in between games.
Last season, the G-Braves went 5-3 in doubleheaders, sweeping two, splitting one and getting swept once.
Game One Lineups are below:
Charlotte Knights Starting Lineup
Gwinnett Braves Starting Lineup