Knights Double up G-Braves, 6-3
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (37-51) took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, but a three-run Charlotte frame turned the game around as the Knights (39-49) came back for a 6-3 win on Thursday night at Coolray Field. Gwinnett pitchers allowed eight walks, including four free passes in the sixth inning.
The Gwinnett offense, shut out in a 13-0 loss on Wednesday at Norfolk, was also limited on Thursday night. The G-Braves collected six hits and went just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Knights got on the board early, playing a little small ball to manufacture their first run. Jim Gallagher walked to start the third inning and moved to second on a single by Steve Tolleson. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Sanchez. Gallagher scored on a sacrifice fly by Lars Anderson, making it 1-0 Charlotte.
The G-Braves took the lead in the bottom half of the third. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out for Jose Yepez. The backstop jumped on the first pitch from Charlotte left-hander Charlie Leesman, lacing a single off of the diving second baseman Sanchez to give Gwinnett a 2-1 lead.
As a result of a 61-minute rain delay and high pitch counts, both teams’ starting pitchers exited after just four innings. Right-hander Omar Poveda tossed 4.0 innings, scattering four hits and allowing one run, while Leesman went 4.0 innings with two runs on four hits.
In the sixth, the Knights took advantage of shaky relief to bat around and score three runs. Charlotte loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Tyler Greene and Bryan Anderson off of Juan Cedeno, putting runners on first and second with one out. The Knights would tie it up as Cedeno walked the next two batters, allowing a run to cross the plate. Wirfin Obispo replaced Cedeno and didn’t fare any better as he walked the leadoff man, giving the Knights a 3-2 lead. Obispo would allow another run to score on a groundout, but got out of further damage with a strikeout and fly out to end the frame.
The G-Braves inched closer in the bottom of the sixth. Luis Nunez tripled and scored on an RBI groundout by Joe Leonard, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
However, the Knights answered by scoring two more runs in the top of the eighth inning on a two-run single by Andy Wilkins, extending the lead to 6-3. Both runs were earned by left-hander Ryan Buchter.
Jake Petricka (W, 1-0) picked up the victory in his Triple-A debut for Charlotte, firing 2.0 innings of one-run baseball. He allowed one hit and struck out three. Donnie Veal (S, 2) struck out the side in the ninth to pick up the save.
Cedeno (L, 0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on three hits over 1.0 inning.
Nunez led the G-Braves’ offense, going 3-for-4 with a run scored to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Yepez went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Wilkins paced the Charlotte attack, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Gwinnett Braves return to action on Friday night at 7:05 PM against the Charlotte Knights. Right-hander Cody Martin (2-0, 1.29) will start for the G-Braves, while right-hander Jason Berken (6-8, 3.95) will counter for the Knights. The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The game will also be televised on CSS.
Friday night is “Beach Party Night” at Coolray Field, sponsored by 12Stone Church. Wear your favorite beach attire to the ballpark, and watch the Gwinnett Braves as they don Pirate-themed jerseys for the game! All jerseys will be available for bid via auction, with the proceeds benefitting Right to Hike, Inc., a charity for hiking safety. Fans will also have the opportunity to win tickets to the Kenny Chesney No Shoes Nation Tour on Zach Brown’s Southern Ground at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, August 5! Stay after the game for a special screening of “American Made Movie,” a documentary about U.S. manufacturing presented by Life is My Movie Entertainment. For tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.