LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Michael Martinez hit a leadoff home run and the Columbus Clippers (15-7) scored three runs in the top of the first inning on the way to a 6-2 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (13-11) on Saturday night at Coolray Field. Rain forced the game to be called with one out in the top of the sixth inning.
Martinez belted the 2-2 offering from G-Braves’ starter Williams Perez (L, 0-2) into the Clippers’ bullpen down the right field line for his first homer of the season. Columbus collected five hits over the next six at-bats to open a 3-0 lead. Giovanny Urshela and Joey Butler each tallied RBI singles. Prior to the Clippers’ three-run frame, Gwinnett had allowed just one first-inning run in 23 games this season.
The Clippers added two more runs off Perez in the second, as Jesus Aguilar punctuated the inning with an RBI single.
Gwinnett got both of its runs in the second inning. Matt Tuiasosopo led off with a single and moved to second on a one-out single by Ronnier Mustelier. After Blake Lalli singled to load the bases,Brandon Snyder ripped an RBI single to left. Columbus’s Collin Cowgill bobbled the ball in the outfield, allowing Mustelier to score.
The G-Braves managed to record six hits and two walks against Columbus starter Mike Clevinger (W, 3-0), but went just 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left five on base.
Clevinger tossed 5.0 innings and struck out three, allowing just one earned run. He threw 56 of his 88 pitches for strikes.
Perez struggled for the second straight outing, allowing nine hits and six runs (four earned) while walking two and striking out five in 5.1 innings.
After earning a promotion from Double-A Mississippi earlier in the day, Atlanta’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, Ozzie Albies went 0-for-3 with a pair of lineouts. The 19-year-old, who is also rated as the No. 26 prospect in all of Minor League Baseball by MLB.com, helped start two double plays and was involved in three total at shortstop. He did make a throwing error in the fourth.
Reid Brignac went 0-for-3 to end his streak of four straight multi-hit games. Mustelier went 1-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.
Aguilar finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the Clippers, who are now 5-0 vs. Gwinnett this season.
The G-Braves and Clippers play the finale of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field, first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. Right-hander Tyrell Jenkins (2-1, 1.71 ERA) will start for Gwinnett. Columbus has not yet named a starter for the contest. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 1:35 p.m.
Sunday is the second “Bark in the Park” game of the season, where fans can bring their dogs with them to the Coolray Field Lawn. It’s also “Sunday Funday” presented by Georgia United Credit Union, as fans are invited to play catch on the field from 1:10-1:25 p.m. and kids (ages 12 and under) are welcome to run the bases after the game.
Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.