G-Braves Stun Clippers in 4-3 Walk-Off Win
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Coolray Field was electric Saturday night, as 7,784 fans gathered to watch a pitching duel between Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy and former first rounder, Columbus hurler Trevor Bauer. The fans got more than they bargained for as the Gwinnett Braves (27-37) came back from two runs down in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Clippers (30-33) 4-3 on a game-winning sacrifice fly by Matt Pagnozzi in the tenth inning.
Despite early struggles with command of his fastball, Beachy had his complementary pitches working. He went 5.0 innings in his second rehab start for Gwinnett, allowing one run on four hits and striking out eight. His eight punch-outs were a single-game high dating back to September 24, 2011, when he fanned nine Washington Nationals in a start for Atlanta.
The Clippers’ lone run off of Beachy came in the second inning, as Chun Chen belted a solo homer over the left field fence, making it 1-0. Beachy fell behind in the count and served up a 2-0 fastball to Chen, who promptly drove the pitch over the wall in left field.
Bauer, meanwhile, looked to upstage his Major League opponent. The Columbus right-hander and former UCLA Bruin threw 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out six. After allowing a triple to Tyler Pastornicky in the first inning, Bauer retired the next seven in order. In the bottom of the fifth, he ran into some trouble, giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases. However, he induced a line-out and a groundout to keep the Clippers in front, 2-0.
Columbus added a run against Ryan Buchter in the sixth inning to build that 2-0 lead. Ezequiel Carrera led off with a single, stole second and scored on an errant throw by the catcher Pagnozzi.
Gwinnett finally got going after Bauer’s exit, scoring a run in the eighth inning off of reliever J.C. Romero. A one-out single by Todd Cunningham and back-to-back walks by Pastornicky and Ernesto Mejia set up a sacrifice fly by Joey Terdoslavich, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
After the Clippers tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, the G-Braves rallied from two down to square it up at 3-3. Joe Leonard led off with a double to left center field off of Clippers’ closer Preston Guilmet. With two outs, Leonard came around to score on a fielding error by second baseman Nate Spears, making it 3-2. The error would haunt the Clippers, as a wild pitch allowed Jose Constanza to move to second and score on an RBI single by Cunningham to tie it up.
Cory Rasmus (W, 2-1) tossed a scoreless frame in the 10th inning, setting up the G-Braves in the bottom half of the frame.
With one out, Brandon Boggs tripled off of Paolo Espino (L, 0-2), putting the game-winning run on third base. After back-to-back intentional walks to Leonard and Alden Carrithers, Pagnozzi hit a fly ball to right center, deep enough to score Boggs and win the game. Espino suffered the loss, giving up one run on one hit in 0.2 innings pitched.
Leonard paced the Gwinnett offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored, while Cunningham and Pastornicky added two hits each. Pastornicky extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his first-inning triple.
Carrera led the Clippers, going 2-for-5 with an RBI at the plate.
The Gwinnett Braves continue the series against the Columbus Clippers on Sunday afternoon, first pitch scheduled for 2:05 PM. Left-hander Sean Gilmartin (3-5, 4.43) will start for the G-Braves, while right-hander Danny Salazar (0-1, 4.08) will start for the Clippers. The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM and television on CSS.
Sunday is another “Family Day” at Coolray Field, featuring Pre-Game Catch in the Outfield (starting when gates open) and the Post-Game Kids Base Run (kids 12 and under). It’s also “Touch-A-Truck” and Public Safety Day, where fans will have the opportunity to get up close with police cars, fire trucks and other public safety vehicles outside Coolray Field. The Gwinnett Braves will also be honoring Lanier High School Resource Officer Rolando Jimenez prior to the game.
Tickets are on sale now by calling the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or by visiting gwinnettbraves.com