Results tagged ‘ Eric Junge ’

The Journeys of Junge

The following article on former Gwinnett Braves right-hander Eric Junge was to be published in the next edition of Tomahawk Talk, due out August 6.  Junge was released by the organization today, but I still wanted the article to see the light of  day.  Best wishes to Eric as he makes the next step of his baseball journey, wherever that may be.

The Journeys of Junge

By Dave Lezotte (July 25, 2012)

While Triple-A baseball is often regarded a place to see the next generation of star players, it’s even more known as a level for the experienced veteran. Each season, International League rosters are full of players who have tasted Major League success and experienced hardships along the way, only to find themselves with another chance to regain glory.

Nobody on the Gwinnett Braves roster personifies this better than Eric Junge. A 35-year-old right-hander hailing from New York, NY, Junge (pronounced “Young”) is in his 14th professional season. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 1999 amateur draft out of Bucknell University, Junge has been to just about all corners of the baseball universe. He’s pitched in seven different Major League organizations including time in the big-league spotlight with Philadelphia in 2002 and 2003. He’s also pitched in the independent Atlantic League as well as overseas in Venezuela, Japan and South Korea.

It’s been a long road for the first-year G-Brave, to say the least. Yet Junge is as determined to pitch now as he was 13 seasons ago.

“I’m going to continue going until my arm falls off or I can’t get a job,” expressed Junge. “What motivates me? I just want to pitch well, I just want to excel. It’s not financial, it’s not necessarily getting back to the big leagues, (…) but it’s just excellence. We play to be good, we play to have excellence and that’s what I strive for.”

Junge has attained excellence at numerous points in his career. In 2001 with Double-A Jacksonville, he became a 10-game winner for the first time in his career as he went 10-11. The next year, he went 12-6 with a 3.54 ERA in his first season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. By the end of 2002, he had made a Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in just his fourth professional season.

Memories of his first big league call-up still immediately come to mind for Junge, even a decade later.

“I remember pitching against the Braves a lot when they had those good teams back in the early 2000’s. That was a thrill for me,” said Junge. “I got to pitch against (Tom) Glavine one time, and just being on the field with some of those marquee Braves teams was pretty cool.”

Junge made his Major League debut with the Phillies on September 11, 2002 against the Florida Marlins. The then-25-year-old earned his first career victory three days later on September 14 in a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. His second and most recent MLB victory came over Glavine and the Braves on September 24, 2002, a game won by the Phillies, 5-3.

He pitched six more times in relief for Philadelphia in 2003, posting no record and a 3.52 ERA. Despite a promising 2-0 record and 2.21 ERA in two stints, Junge wasn’t called upon by the Phillies again and hasn’t been back to the Majors since.

“I didn’t expect it to be that hard to get back (to the Major Leagues), to get a second opportunity,” admits Junge. “But that’s the way things go.”

Since 2003, his journey has taken him just about everywhere imaginable. He pitched in the Phillies system again in 2004 before landing with the New York Mets organization a year later. In 2006, Junge pitched for Triple-A Portland of the San Diego Padres system. In 2007, he suited up for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre again, but this time as a New York Yankees farmhand. After a release from the Yankees, Junge caught on with the independent Bridgeport Bluefish for the duration of 2007.

Then, in 2008, he discovered he’d have to leave the United States to keep his dream alive. Junge spent the next two seasons playing in Asia, going 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in 11 games with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League in 2008 and 1-7 with a 7.04 ERA in 12 games with the Hanwha Eagles of the South Korean Professional Baseball League in 2009.

Aside from obvious adjustments in culture, Junge found himself challenged by a different style of play in both countries.

“In Japan and Korea, they sort of play tennis, if you will,” described Junge. “They try to return your serve, the hitters, that is, these slap-hitting guys. You have to adjust your game a little bit. I didn’t have much success in the Asian arena and I think a lot of guys (American players) don’t have success over there. It takes more than a few months, and they (the teams) don’t’ give you enough time to adjust to the game.”

In 2010, Junge returned to the United States and signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels. He was immediately assigned to Triple-A, where he went 5-3 with a 5.15 ERA in 14 games with the Salt Lake Bees in 2010 and 8-9 with a 5.12 ERA in 25 games in 2011. Simply getting back to affiliated baseball proved to be a victory in itself for Junge.

“I didn’t know if it was even going to happen (returning to affiliated baseball). I pitched my way back in,” said Junge.

It was in the Angels system that Junge learned a pitch that would ultimately increase his longevity.

“I developed a sinker over there with Erik Bennett, he was my pitching coach over there (Salt Lake). We worked on a sinker and that’s really helped me to prolong my career. As my velocity goes down, now I can sink the ball a little bit more and induce more contact.”

Armed with the sinker that helps him get more ground ball outs, Junge is still striving for excellence in his first season in the Atlanta Braves organization. He started off the year 3-1 with Gwinnett before scuffling in May and June. Recently, the right-hander has experienced resurgence, going 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four outings from June 30 to July 23.

“Just being aggressive,” answered Junge when asked the secret for his latest success. “(Being) aggressive early in the count with fastballs and using my cutter and slider to get guys off the fastball. When I was struggling, I think I was a little more slider-dominant, pitching backward and kind of looking for answers. There are no easy answers, you just go back to basics. Pound strikes with your fastball and get guys a little more uncomfortable in the box.”

As of July 25, Junge is tied for the team lead in both wins (6) and quality starts (8). While a call-up to Atlanta for his first Major League innings since 2003 is still likely a long shot for Gwinnett’s elder statesman, he remains content with his achievements.

“It was a special experience, and hopefully I can maybe get back (to the Major Leagues) one day,” said Junge. “If not, it’s fine, it’s all been fun. Nobody can take away the feeling of pride I have for my own career. I feel like I’ve exceeded my own expectations.”

-DL

G-Braves Getting Back to their Winning Ways

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

After dropping the first seven meetings this season, the Gwinnett Braves finally defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees with a 10-6 win on Monday night at Coolray Field. The Gwinnett offense collected 14 total hits including two from Felix Pie, who went 2-for-4 with a home run, run scored and three RBIs.

For the fourth time in four games on the series, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored first against Gwinnett. Brandon Laird crushed a solo home run off starter Eric Junge with one out in the second, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Gwinnett took little time to respond, as Stefan Gartrell singled with one out the very next frame. Following the first out of the inning, Jose Yepez continued his hot hitting with a single to right-center. That hit set up Lance Zawadzki’s RBI groundout, tying the game at 1-1.

The G-Braves took their first lead of the entire season series (a 61.2-inning span) in the third inning. Ernesto Mejia reached base on a single, and, following a walk to Gartrell, Yepez smashed his second single of the game through the infield to score Mejia. Ruben Gotay immediately followed with a run-scoring single of his own. A throwing error charged to Yankees third baseman Kevin Russo following a two-out single by Zawadzki allowed Yepez to race home for a 4-1 advantage.

The G-Braves extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning. Jack Wilson, currently on a Major League rehab assignment for Atlanta, singled to lead off the frame, stole second and came around to score on Mejia’s RBI single. Gartrell then doubled down the left-field line to score Mejia, raising the lead to five runs.

Junge (W, 6-8) gave up a pair of runs in the fifth as he served up a two-run homer to Chris Dickerson, cutting the lead to 6-3. The veteran right-hander and former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee worked 5.0 innings of three-run baseball, walking one and striking out one. He threw 79 pitches, 51 strikes on the night.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Tuesday, July 24th G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (47-57) welcome the Durham Bulls (48-56) to Coolray Field on Tuesday night for the opener of a four-game series. The G-Braves will have right-handerJulio Teheran (6-5, 4.93) on the mound, while the Bulls counter with right-hander Alex Torres (3-5, 6.79) for a 7:05 PM scheduled first pitch. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Durham Bulls (3rd IL South) vs Gwinnett (4th IL North) 

Tuesday night is another 2 for 1 Tuesday at Coolray Field. Visit gwinnettbraves.com/Tuesday to print your coupon, then present it at the Coolray Field Box Office for a special buy-one, get-one ticket deal. Some seating restrictions apply, limit six tickets per group. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Durham Bulls Batting Order:

1) Rich Thompson, CF

2) Will Rhymes, 2B

3) Stephen Vogt, LF

4) Chris Gimenez, C

5) Leslie Anderson, 1B

6) Reid Brignac, DH

7) Tim Beckham, SS

8) Jesus Feliciano, RF

9) Cole Figueroa, 3B

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Luis Durango, CF

2) Jack Wilson, DH

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B

5) Stefan Gartrell, LF

6) Josh Wilson, SS

7) Ruben Gotay, 3B

8) J.C. Boscan, C

9) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

By: Tony Piraro

Yankees Looking for Season Sweep vs G-Braves

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

7.23.12 GBraves Game Notes

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees took their third game in a row from the Gwinnett Braves, winning 4-3 on Sunday at Coolray Field. Corban Joseph’s ninth inning solo home run off Andy Russell gave the Yankees the lead for good as they improved to 7-0 against Gwinnett in 2012.

For the third time in three games, the Yankees scored the first run of the ballgame in their first at-bat. Chris Dickerson led off the game with a single against left-hander Yohan Flande, then stole second base and came around to score on a Kevin Russo RBI single.

Gwinnett finally answered back in the seventh inning as Ernesto Mejia led off the inning with a single. Following a two-out Ruben Gotay single, Jose Yepez came through with a clutch two-run double down the right field line, cutting the G-Braves deficit to 3-2. Yepez finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs, raising his batting average to .272 on the season.

The G-Braves tied the game 3-3 in the eighth when Jose Constanza began the rally with a leadoff single, then advanced to third base on an errant pickoff throw by left-hander Justin Thomas. The same at-bat, speedster Luis Durango singled up the middle for his 36th RBI of the season. Durango would later steal his second base of the game, raising his International League leading total to 35 on the season.

Walks to Mejia and Stefan Gartrell loaded the bases as Gwinnett threatened to take their first lead of the night in the eighth, but Ryota Igarashi struck out Josh Wilson and Gotay swinging to end the threat. Scranton wasted little time recapturing the lead in the ninth as Joseph capped his big night with a two-out solo home run to right field. With the game-winning blast, Joseph finished 2-for-5 with a team-high two RBIs.

Russell (L, 0-1) gave up the winning run on one hit over 1.0 inning of work.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Monday, July 23rd G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (46-57) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (57-45) play their series and season finale on Monday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The G-Braves will have right-hander Eric Junge (5-8, 4.62) on the mound, while the Yankees counter with left-hander Mike O’Connor (2-3, 3.39). Listen to the broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Scranton Yankees (2nd IL North) vs Gwinnett (3rd IL South) 

All kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips and a small soda on Kids Eat Free Monday. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Empire State Yankees Batting Order:

1) Chris Dickerson, CF

2) Kevin Russo, LF

3) Corban Joseph, 2B

4) Jack Cust, DH

5) Brandon Laird, 3B

6) Kosuke Fukudome, LF

7) Cole Garner, RF

8) Gustavo Molina, C

9) Ramiro Pena, SS

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Luis Durango, CF

2) Jack Wilson, DH

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B

5) Stefan Gartrell, LF

6) Josh Wilson, SS

7) Jose Yepez, C

8) Ruben Gotay, 3B

9) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

By: Tony Piraro

Storylines Since the Break

A new post on your Gwinnett Braves has been long overdue since the start of the final 52-game stretch of the regular season.  The G-Braves are off to a 1-4 start since the Triple-A All-Star break and maintain a 1.0-game lead on Durham for third place in the International League South Division.  Dave Brundage’s club stands 10 games behind South-leading Charlotte with time still on the clock to catch the Knights, but it’s clear that the time is now to make a move up the standings.

Here’s some of the storylines playing out since the break:

Constanza has hit in a franchise-record 19-straight games as of July 17. (Chris Roughgarden)

Jose Constanza is on a tear that may not end any time soon.

Constanza entered the All-Star break with a 14-game hitting streak in tact, tying the existing Gwinnett franchise record shared by Barbaro Canizares (2010) and Felix Pie (2012).  He’s re-written the record book with hits in five-straight games since, giving him a 19-game hitting streak as of July 17.  That streak is the second-longest in the International League this season, trailing only a 20-game streak accomplished by three players including former Toledo Mud Hen Brad Eldred.  Constanza isn’t just collecting a hit a night to advance history, he’s often doing it with huge, multi-hit efforts.  He’s logged more than one hit in 12 of the 19 games, hitting an impressive .400 (34-for-85) on the streak.  Not surprisingly, he’s shot to the top of the IL in batting average, now leading the circuit with a .322 mark.

Mejia leads the IL with 106 hits and ranks fourth with a .308 batting average. He’s among offensive leaders in just about every other category. (Karl Moore)

Ernesto Mejia has been even better since appearing in the All-Star Game.

What’s left to prove for Mejia after his first Triple-A All-Star Game selection?  Plenty.  He’s continued to do it with his bat, hitting .354 with four homers and nine RBI over the first 12 games of July.  The slugging first baseman is riding a three-game multi-hit streak that has raised his average to .308, fourth-best in the International League.  He leads the league with 106 hits (amazing for a player with such power to lead in total hits), while ranking second in total bases (189), tied for second in extra-base hits (44), tied for third in RBI (62), fourth in slugging percentage (.549), fifth in OPS (.916) and tied for fifth in home runs (19).  If he can keep up the pace, the IL Triple Crown could be within his grasp in his first year at the level.

Redmond went 6-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 18 starts for the G-Braves before the trade. (Kyle Hess)

It’s going to be weird not seeing Todd Redmond pitch every fifth day.

One constant over the first four years of G-Braves baseball has been the consistency of Redmond in the rotation.  The all-time wins leader in Gwinnett history was shipped to Cincinnati in exchange for shortstop Paul Janish on July 14.  Redmond went 34-30 with a 3.78 ERA in 101 games, 97 starts in a G-Braves uniform, making him one of the faces of the young franchise.  He’ll certainly be most remembered for his nine-inning no-hitter at Louisville on May 28, 2010, still the only no-no thrown by a G-Brave.  Die-hard fans will certainly remember his outstanding 2011 season in which Redmond went 10-8 with the IL’s third-best ERA of 2.92.  One thing is for sure, it’s going to be weird not seeing “Red” on the mound at Coolray Field.  Even stranger, he may face his old club when his new team, the Louisville Bats, come to town in August.

Since throwing his first career complete game on June 3, Teheran is 1-3 with an 8.56 ERA in his last six starts. (Kyle Hess)

With Redmond gone, who steps up?

It’s no secret that even when Redmond was still a member of the rotation, Gwinnett starters had been struggling.  The question is, who is able to shake off those struggles and consistently win for this team?  We’ve seen flashes of dominance from Julio Teheran, Eric Junge, Yohan Flande and Jose Lugo this year, but who takes the reigns as the staff ace?  Teheran would be the likely candidate given what he did just a season ago.  There’s still time for the 21-year-old to improve upon a 6-5 record and uncharacteristic 4.96 ERA.  Randall Delgado served up six runs in his first Triple-A start since being optioned to Gwinnett by Atlanta, but could also ressurect his season with a strong finish in Triple-A.

McCurry has thrown 5.0 scoreless innings across two appearances with Gwinnett this season. (Leslie Watts)

There’s a whole lot of new faces here.

Terry Tiffee, Cole McCurry, Andy Russell…who are these guys?  The G-Braves’ roster underwent nine transactions this past weekend, giving the roster a bit of a new look.  Not only the addition of Tiffee, a third baseman who has logged Major League time in Minnesota and Los Angeles (Dodgers), McCurry, a reliever who came over from the Baltimore  system earlier this year and Russell (not to be confused with Adam), a 28-year-old reliever in just his second U.S. season after pitching in his native Australia, but also the “re-addition” of Jordan Parraz.  Parraz had been out since May 7 with a broken left hand, but went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles in his first game back with Gwinnett on July 14 at Louisville.  Which of the new faces becomes a key piece of the puzzle?

Carlyle ranks second among IL relief leaders in fewest walks per 9.0 innings with a 1.76 mark. (Melinda Pease)

With a slim lead late in the game, who gets the call?

Triple-A All-Star Cory Gearrin is currently on the DL, so who gets the coveted closer’s role?  Jaye Chapman posted two saves and a win in three scoreless outings from July 4-12, but suffered a tough letdown in a blown save and loss on July 14 at Louisville.  Buddy Carlyle is the active bullpen leader in ERA (2.34) and wins (5), but gave up the grand slam to Bats’ catcher Dioner Navarro that defeated the G-Braves on that same July 14 evening.  Don’t count out the rest of the pen, Billy Bullock, Adam Russell, Dusty Hughes and others to get on track, but the late innings will still likely belong to Chapman and Carlyle.

That’s just a small sampling of what’s going on with the Gwinnett Braves just past the half-way point of July.  To find out how it all plays out, keep coming back to the G-Blog and gwinnettbraves.com, as well as catching the radio broadcasts with Tony Schiavone on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM and WDUN.com.

-DL

G-Braves Begin Final Series of First Half Tonight

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

7.6.12 GBraves Game Notes

The G-Braves have won four of their last five games following their franchise record 15-straight losses. However, in the month of July Gwinnett possesses a sterling record of 4-1 heading toward the break. Tonight the G-Braves begin a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliate and reigning International League South Division Champions. Currently, the Bulls are just one game ahead of Gwinnett in the standings, as the G-Braves trail first-place Charlotte by eight games after taking four of six from them in the previous six days.

The G-Braves and Knights split a Thursday night doubleheader at Knights’ Stadium. In game one, the G-Braves ran their winning streak to four with a come-from-behind 4-3 win as part of the July 3 postponed game from Coolray Field. However, the Knights ended the four-game streak in game two with an 8-0 shutout of Gwinnett.

Jose Constanza currently owns a 12-game hit streak, which is good enough to be the third longest streak of the season for a Gwinnett hitter. However, his teammate Felix Pie tied for the longest hit-streak in Gwinnett franchise history at 14 games, tying former G-Brave Barbaro Canizares, but Pie had it snapped the other night against Charlotte when he went 0-for-5. Ernesto Mejia registered the second longest hit-streak of the season with a 12-game tally. The All-Star also had a streak to start the season, as he reached base safely in his first 17 games of the 2012 campaign, which has been seconded by none of his teammates thus far.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Tuesday, July 3rd G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (41-48) return to Coolray Field Friday night for game one of a three-game series against the Durham Bulls (42-47) to conclude the first half of the season prior to the 2012 All-Star break. Right-hander Todd Redmond (6-5, 3.23) is scheduled for the G-Braves against the Bulls right-hander Matt Torra (7-6, 4.43) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Durham Bulls (3rd IL South) vs Gwinnett (4th IL South) 

Stick around after the game for our Independence Day Show following the Bulls and G-Braves contest. It will be the biggest and longest Fox 5 Friday Fireworks spectacular of the year! Celebrate Fourth of July with the G-Braves, as every fan in the stands will receive Free Thundersticks presented by 12 Stone.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Durham Bulls Batting Order:

1) Rich Thompson, CF

2) Jesus Feliciano, RF

3) Henry Wrigley, 1B

4) Brandon Allen, LF

5) Leslie Anderson, DH

6) Chris Gimenez, C

7) Reid Brignac, SS

8) Matt Mangini, 3B

9) Cole Figueroa, 2B

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Luis Durango, CF

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, DH

5) Christian Marrero, 1B

6) Ruben Gotay, 3B

7) Josh Wilson, SS

8) J.C. Boscan, C

9) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

By: Tony Piraro

Video: Felix Pie’s Walk-off Hit Against Charlotte

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Felix Pie delivered the sixth walk-off, game-winning hit of the season for the Gwinnett Braves on Sunday against the Charlotte Knights. The G-Braves entered the ninth inning trailing the Knights by a run, when Pie stepped to the plate in a tie game, 5-5, following the Tyler Pastornicky game-tying double off the wall the at-bat prior. Pie crushed an 0-1 pitch into right field for the 6-5 Gwinnett win which snapped their 15-game hit streak.

To watch the Pie game-winning hit, click the link below: 

http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=22773681

The Gwinnett Braves (38-47) play game three of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (47-37) on Monday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Left-hander Yohan Flande (3-6, 3.84) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against right-hander Matt Zaleski (3-2, 4.48) of the Knights. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Monday is “Kids Eat Free” night at Coolray Field, where all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, bag of chips and a small soda. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

Braves Sign Ben Sheets to Minor League Deal

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Early Sunday the Atlanta Braves signed former Major League superstar pitcher Ben Sheets to minor league contract. The right-hander will be assigned to Double-A Mississippi to begin his journey toward the big leagues. Sheets hasn’t appeared in a Major League Baseball game since July 9, 2010 when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics. Since then, the hurler has undergone Tommy John reconstructive surgery nearly two years ago as he looks to regain his former strength.

Sheets possesses a 90-92 record alongside a 3.79 career ERA, 1.22 WHIP including 1547.1 innings pitched with 1,290 strikeouts to just 356 walks. He’s a four-time All-Star and earned National League Cy Young Award votes in 2004 after posting a sparkling 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 264/32 K/BB ratio across 237 regular-season innings with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 33-year-old will head to Double-A Mississippi on Wednesday to begin pitching in live games. Sheets may take time to get ready for Major League hitting, nearly two years after surgery. However, the right-hander has always been a bulldog. If there is any pitcher out there, prepared to make a comeback of epic proportions, it’s Ben Sheets.

Sheets threw a bullpen session at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon prior to the Braves and Washington Nationals game at 1:05 p.m. His next stop will be Mississippi, and then it’s anybody’s guess after that. I know one thing, the Braves have a legitimate competitor who is going to be able to teach the Braves pitching prospects how it’s done and how to be successful at the Major League level.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Face “Mr. Perfect Game” Phil Humber

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

7.1.12 GBraves Game Notes

It was more heartbreak for the struggling Gwinnett Braves in the opener of a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights on Saturday night at Coolray Field. The Knights broke a 1-1 tie on a passed ball charged to catcher J.C. Boscan in the eighth, then added three more runs in the frame against Cory Gearrin to capture a 5-3 win over the G-Braves. Boscan atoned with a two-run double in the ninth, but couldn’t prevent Gwinnett from extending their franchise-record losing streak to 15 games.

This year’s G-Braves have lost 27 of their last 32 games dating back to May 30, including 25 of 30 contests this month. It was the first game of a seven-game homestand in the next nine days, including six of the next nine against Charlotte. The loss move the G-Braves to a season-high 11 games in back of Charlotte for first place in the International League South standings.

Some lone bright-spots for the G-Braves this season was Ernesto Mejia and Cory Gearrin both being named to the Triple-A All-Star team for the game on July 10, in Buffalo, New York at 7:05 p.m. ET. Luis Durango currently leads the IL in stolen bases (28) and is one shy of leading all of Triple-A baseball in swipes with 29. Felix Pie is currently on a 13-game hit streak, which is good enough for the tie of best mark this season by a G-Braves. Mejia tied the longest with a 13-game streak, which was one hit shy of the franchise record 14-game streak by Barbaro Canizares. Also, Jose Constanza currently possesses a seven-game hit streak for Gwinnett since rejoining the team from Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Saturday, June 30 G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (37-47) play game two of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (48-36) tomorrow night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 5:05 PM. Right-hander Todd Redmond (6-5, 3.13) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against right-hander Matt Zaleski (3-2, 4.48) of the Knights. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Charlotte Knights (47-36, 1st IL South) vs Gwinnett (37-46, 4th IL South) 

Sunday is night two of Braves All-Star Weekend at Coolray Field, presented by Springer Mountain Farms. Former Atlanta Braves greats Dale Murphy and Ryan Kleskowill be on hand for special meet-and-greets and autograph opportunities. The first 1,000 fans will receive Gwinnett Braves pennants courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms. It’s also a Family Day at the ballpark including pre-game catch on the field and post-game base run for kids 12 and under. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Tyler Kuhn, LF

2) Ray Olmedo, 2B

3) Dan Johnson, 1B

4) Hector Gimenez, DH

5) Dallas McPherson, 3B

6) Josh Phegley, C

7) Justin Greene, CF

8) Ozzie Martinez, SS

9) Kyle Shelton, RF

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Tyler Pastornicky, SS

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, DH

5) Stefan Gartrell, LF

6) Christian Marrero, 1B

7) Ruben Gotay, 3B

8) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

9) J.C. Boscan, C

By: Tony Piraro

Gwinnett Looking to Snap 14-Game Losing Skid

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

6.30.12 GBraves Game Notes

For the second night in a row, Gwinnett Braves’ starting pitching gave up nine runs and, as a result, the G-Braves suffered their 14th loss in a row with an 11-4 drubbing at the hands of the Empire State Yankees Friday night at Frontier Field. Gwinnett’s 14th-straight defeat extends the franchise record for most consecutive losses, which was originally set by the 2006 Richmond Braves with their 12-game skid.

This year’s G-Braves have lost 26 of their last 31 games dating back to May 30, including 24 of 29 contests this month. It was the final game of a 0-8 road trip to upstate New York for Gwinnett, moving them to a season-high 10 games in back of Charlotte for first place in the International League South standings.

Some lone bright-spots for the G-Braves this season was Ernesto Mejia and Cory Gearrin both being named to the Triple-A All-Star team for the game on July 10, in Buffalo, New York at 7:05 p.m. ET. Luis Durango currently leads the IL in stolen bases (28) and is one shy of leading all of Triple-A baseball in swipes with 29. Felix Pie is currently on a 12-game hit streak, which is good enough for the second-best mark this season by a G-Braves. Mejia had the longest with a 13-game streak, which was one hit shy of the franchise record 14-game streak by Barbaro Canizares. Also, Jose Constanza currently possesses a seven-game hit streak for Gwinnett since rejoining the team from Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Saturday, June 30 G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (37-46) return home Saturday night in game one of a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights. The G-Braves will have right-hander Eric Junge (1-3, 4.24) on the mound against the Knights right-hander Charlie Shirek (7-4, 3.71) in a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch at Coolray Field. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.

Charlotte Knights (47-36, 1st IL South) vs Gwinnett (37-46, 4th IL South) 

The homestand begins with “Braves All-Star Weekend” presented by Springer Mountain Farms, featuring appearances by former Braves Dave Justice and Javy Lopez on Saturday alongside Dale Murphy and Ryan Klesko on Sunday, July 1. Join us Saturday night for Braves All-Star Weekend, with former Braves Dave Justice and Javy Lopez at the ballpark for a meet-and-greet, plus a 90-minute autograph session after the start of the game. Limit 1 item per person, first come first serve basis. Also, the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a pennant flag courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Tyler Kuhn, LF

2) Drew Garcia, 2B

3) Dan Johnson, 1B

4) Conor Jackson, RF

5) Dallas McPherson, 3B

6) Hector Gimenez, DH

7) Josh Phegley, C

8) Ozzie Martinez, SS

9) Justin Greene, CF

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Tyler Pastornicky, SS

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, DH

5) Stefan Gartrell, LF

6) Christian Marrero, 1B

7) Ruben Gotay, 3B

8) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

9) J.C. Boscan, C

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves’ Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

The Gwinnett Braves return home to Coolray Field for seven games in a nine-day stretch that will begin on Saturday, June 30 and conclude on Sunday, July 8. The G-Braves will host the International League South Division leading Charlotte Knights (June 30-July 3) for four games and another IL South foe, theDurham Bulls (July 6-8) for three games. The finale of the series on Sunday, July 8, originally scheduled for 5:05 PM, is now a 2:05 PM start.

After nearly two months of dominance, the G-Braves are currently fourth in the IL South Division after losing 12 straight games and 24 of their last 29 contests. However, two of the bright spots of the season were honored as Triple-A All-Star selections on Wednesday, June 27. Pitcher Cory Gearrin and first baseman Ernesto Mejia will both represent Gwinnett and the IL in the 25th Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 11 in Buffalo, NY. Gearrin, selected to the game by the IL office, has seven saves in eight chances alongside a perfect 3-0 record and masterful 1.31 ERA. Mejia, selected in part by online fan vote, is fifth in the IL in batting average at .305. He also ranks among the league’s best in RBIs (4th, 52), home runs (7th, 15) and slugging percentage (7th, .540) as well as several other categories.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

The G-Braves are presently wrapping up an eight-game road trip (0-4 at Syracuse, 0-2 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre). Gwinnett will have four games to begin the homestand against Charlotte, then will head to Fort Mill, SC for a quick two-game set against the Knights. Afterward, the G-Braves will return home for the three-game series against Durham.

The homestand begins with “Braves All-Star Weekend” presented by Springer Mountain Farms, featuring appearances by former Braves Dave JusticeJavy LopezDale Murphy and Ryan Klesko on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1. A special fireworks spectacular sponsored by WAGA Fox 5 highlights the Friday, July 6 game, and the Chopper Baseball Giveaway happens on Saturday, July 7.

Here’s a look at the rest of the homestand:

Saturday, June 30
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 7:05 PM
Presenting Sponsor: Springer Mountain Farms
National Anthem performed by: Lauren Mask
Features:

  • Braves All-Star Weekend, Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms – Former Braves Dave Justice and Javy Lopez will be at the park to meet and greet, including a 90-minute autograph session after the start of the game. Limit 1 per person, first come first serve basis.
  • Pennant Flag Giveaway – The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free pennant flag, courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms.

Sunday, July 1
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 5:05 PM
Presenting Sponsors: Springer Mountain Farms and Univision
National Anthem performed by: Cannon Church
Features:

  • Braves All-Star Weekend, Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms – Former Braves Dale Murphy and Ryan Klesko will be at the park to meet and greet, including a 90-minute autograph session after the start of the game. Limit 1 per person, first come first serve basis.
  • Pennant Flag Giveaway – The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free pennant flag, courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms.
  • Salute to the Arts – The G-Braves will be recognizing organizations that support art programs and art education.
  • Family Sunday – Bring your ball and glove for a pre-game catch in the outfield! All kids 12 and under will get to run the bases following the game as well.

Monday, July 2
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 7:05 PM
National Anthem performed by: Brianna Evans
Features:

  • Kids Eat Free Monday – All kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, a bag of chips and a small soda.

Tuesday, July 3
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 7:05 PM
National Anthem performed by: Abbey Kochman
Features:

  • 2 for 1 Tuesday – Save up to 50% off tickets by visiting GwinnettBraves.com/Tuesday. Print your coupon from home and present it at the Box Office to redeem!

Friday, July 6
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 7:05 PM
Presenting Sponsor: 12Stone
National Anthem and God Bless America performed by: Timothy Miller
Features:

  • Fox 5 Friday Fireworks – Stick around after the game for our Independence Day show following the game! It will be the biggest and longest firework spectacular of the year!
  • Red, White and Blue Thundersticks Giveaway – Celebrate Fourth of July with the G-Braves as every fan in the stands will receive free thundersticks.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Saturday, July 7
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 7:05 PM
Presenting Sponsor: Tyson® Any’Tizers® Snacks
National Anthem performed by: Rex Norton
Features:

  • Chopper Baseball Giveaway – The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Chopper baseball

Sunday, July 8
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) vs. Gwinnett Braves, 2:05 PM
Presenting Sponsor: Univision
National Anthem performed by: Georgia 811
Features:

  • Touch-a-Truck – Enjoy the opportunity to see your favorite machinery and vehicles up close! Stop by to check out the dump trucks, fire engines, police cars, and more!
  • Public Safety Night – The G-Braves will be recognizing local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT’s before the game.
  • Youth Athletics – The G-Braves will be recognizing organizations that promote youth athletics and activities.
  • Family Sunday – Bring your ball and glove for a pre-game catch in the outfield! All kids 12 and under will get to run the bases following the game as well.

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

By: Tony Piraro
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