Monthly Archives: May 2016

Pawtucket Plays Long Ball To Best G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Ryan LaMarre and Justin Maxwell hit back-to-back home runs leading off the fifth inning, guiding the Pawtucket Red Sox (25-27) to a 6-4 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (25-28) Tuesday night at Coolray Field.

LaMarre took the fourth pitch of the inning to center field against G-Braves’ starter Lucas Sims (L, 1-4) and five pitches later, Maxwell deposited a solo blast of his own into the Pawtucket bullpen in right field, ending Sims’ night.

Sims allowed just three hits, but all three were solo home runs, and walked four in 4.0 innings. The Lawrenceville native threw three wild pitches, allowing two runs to score as a result. He threw just 52 of his 93 pitches for strikes in allowing six earned runs.

Chris Marrero capped a three-run third inning against Sims with his 10th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field. Pawtucket got its first run of the night when Sims uncorked a wild pitch with runners at second and third earlier in the frame.

But the G-Braves battled back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third, aided by some wild pitching from Pawtucket starter Henry Owens. The Red Sox’ lefty walked the bases loaded beforeBrandon Snyder lifted a sacrifice fly to right, bringing in Stephen Gaylor from third.

Ronnier Mustelier and Anthony Recker collected consecutive RBI singles to plate Ozzie Albies andMatt Tuiasosopo, giving Gwinnett a 4-3 lead.

Sims threw two wild pitches in the fourth, allowing Pawtucket to tie the game before it seized the lead for good one inning later.

The G-Braves threatened in the seventh and ninth innings, putting two runners on in each frame, but Noe Ramirez struck out Jace Peterson and Tuiasosopo to end the seventh and Kyle Martin got Peterson to line out to left with the tying runs in scoring position in the ninth.

Rob Wooten, Jim Johnson, Dario Alvarez and Joel De La Cruz held the Red Sox to just four hits over the final 5.0 innings for Gwinnett. Johnson, working for the second time with the G-Braves and third time overall on his MLB rehab assignment from Atlanat, allowed a single but got a double-play grounder in a scoreless seventh.

Owens (W, 4-2) allowed just three hits over 6.0 innings, while allowing four runs and walking three. The southpaw struck out four and finished his night by retiring the final 10 batters he faced. Ramirez (H, 1) yielded two hits in a scoreless seventh and Martin (S, 2) earned his second save.

Snyder was 1-for-3 with two RBI to pace the G-Braves’ attack and Gaylor collected his first Triple-A hit leading off the ninth.

Marrero went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI and Maxwell was 2-for-5 with a home run for the Red Sox.

The G-Braves and Red Sox conclude the three-game series Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Right-hander Lucas Harrell (2-0, 4.91) will pitch for the G-Braves against righty William Cuevas (4-2, 3.14) for the Red Sox. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Tickets for Wednesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

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Ruiz’s Home Run Lifts G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Rio Ruiz hit a tie-breaking solo home run leading off the eighth inning, lifting the Gwinnett Braves (25-27) to a 6-5 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox (24-27) Monday night at Coolray Field.

Ruiz took reliever Roman Mendez (L, 1-1) just over the wall in right-center on the first pitch of the inning for his third homer of the season. He hadn’t homered since April 22 at Charlotte and it was only his fourth extra-base hit of the month.

Jose Ramirez allowed two hits in the ninth, but struck out Chris Dominguez with runners at first and second to earn his first save of the season.

Gwinnett erupted for five runs in the fourth inning against Pawtucket starter Roenis Elias, batting around and having seven straight hitters reach base safely. With one out, Matt Tuiasosopo, Brandon Snyder and Ronnier Mustelier collected consecutive singles, the latter getting the G-Braves on the board at 2-1. With Ruiz at the plate, Elias uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Snyder to slide in with Gwinnett’s second run.

Ruiz and Anthony Recker walked before Emerson Landoni ripped an RBI single and Ozzie Albiesdumped a two-RBI single into shallow center, putting the G-Braves up 5-2.

But Pawtucket fought back against G-Braves’ starter John Gant, as Sandy Leon hit a solo home run into the Red Sox’ bullpen in the sixth and the visitors scored twice against Gant in the seventh.

After getting the first out of the seventh, Gant walked Rusney Castillo and yielded a single to Justin Maxwell. Castillo tried to go to third, but Mustelier cut him down at third for the second out. Chris Marrero followed with an RBI double and Bryce Brentz chased Gant with an RBI single, tying the score.

Gant allowed 11 hits in 6.2 innings (matching a season-high), while walking only one and striking out six. Brentz doubled home Maxwell in the first and Deven Marrero beat out a potential inning-ending double play to score a run in the fourth.

Matt Marksberry (W, 1-2) allowed one hit in 1.1 innings to get his first win of the season and Ramirez (S, 1) notched his first save since July 29, 2015 while pitching for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Albies, Landoni and Tuiasosopo each had two hits as the G-Braves got 10 against Red Sox’ pitching. Albies singled and doubled and Tuiasosopo was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Maxwell went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and Brentz was 3-for-5 with two RBI for Pawtucket, which pounded out 14 hits but went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

The G-Braves and Bulls continue the three-game series Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims (1-3, 5.19) will pitch for the G-Braves against lefty Henry Owens (3-2, 3.52) for the Red Sox. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

It’s a Two-for-Tuesday night, as all Dugout seats are two for the price of one. Tickets for Tuesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Syracuse Uses Late Rally To Best G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Caleb Ramsey knocked in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning, guiding the Syracuse Chiefs (26-21) to a 6-5 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (24-26) on Saturday night at Coolray Field.

After the G-Braves had fought back to take a 5-4 lead with a five-run seventh inning, Trea Turner knotted the score with an RBI single in the eighth against Kanekoa Texeira (BS, 1; L, 1-4). Ramsey’s second hit of the night came an inning later with two outs, scoring Matt Skole from second.

Rafael Martin earned his second save in the series and 10th of the season in the bottom of the ninth, erasing a leadoff walk by Anthony Recker by inducing a 4-6-3 double play and getting Ozzie Albies to fly out to center.

Trailing 4-0, Gwinnett surged ahead in the seventh against Sam Runion. With one out, Rio Ruiz started the rally with a single before Ronnier Mustelier walked and Recker singled to load the bases. Blake Lalli got the G-Braves on the board with a two-run single to right field and Albies greeted Matt Grace with an RBI single to center, bringing Gwinnett to within a run at 4-3.

Two batters later, Emilio Bonifacio put the G-Braves ahead 5-4, ripping a two-run double into the right field corner.

But Syracuse battled back against Texeira to take the series after winning 1-0 Friday night.

Matt den Dekker got the Chiefs on the board first in the game’s opening frame, slugging a two-run home run against G-Braves’ starter Manny Banuelos. The southpaw was making his first start for Gwinnett in 2016 and second overall on the season.

Banuelos allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) over 3.2 innings while walking one and striking out six. Rob Wooten and Jim Johnson (on an MLB rehab assignment from Atlanta) combined on 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Banuelos, before Lucas Harrell yielded two runs in the seventh. Dario Alvarez struck out two in his G-Braves’ debut.

Syracuse starter Aaron Laffey held the G-Braves to just two hits in 6.0 innings while walking three and striking out four. Erik Davis (W, 4-1) tossed a perfect eighth before Martin nailed it down for the Chiefs.

Mustelier was the only G-Brave to collect multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. Lalli was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and Bonifacio’s lone hit knocked in two runs. Brandon Snyder saw his eight-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-4 night.

Turner was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and den Dekker knocked in three runs for the Chiefs. Ramsey and Jhonatan Solano were a combined 4-for-6 out of the seven and eight spots in the Syracuse lineup.

The G-Braves and Chiefs conclude the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. Gwinnett will send right-hander Tyrell Jenkins (5-2, 3.02) to the mound against righty Paolo Espino (1-4, 3.40) for Syracuse. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 1:35 p.m.

As part of “Sunday Funday” presented by Georgia United Credit Union, fans are welcome to play catch on the field from 1:10-1:25 p.m. and kids 12-and-under can run the bases postgame. 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.

Ruiz Making Strides in Triple-A Debut

The following story appears in the third edition of “Tomahawk Talk,” the official gameday publication of the Gwinnett Braves. Pick up a FREE copy at Coolray Field from May 27-June 26.

When Rio Ruiz was acquired by the Atlanta Braves in a January 2015 trade that sent the popular Evan Gattis to Houston, the expectations began to pile onto the then-20-year-old third baseman. It had been three seasons since the legendary Chipper Jones retired, and the Braves had yet to find a new star at the hot corner.

Ruiz, who had registered 70 doubles, 23 home runs and 140 RBIs over the prior two seasons in the Astros’ system, seemed nearly ready for the spotlight and a promotion to the big leagues.

But playing for Double-A Mississippi was anything but a rousing success for Ruiz in 2015. He struggled to a .233 batting average over 127 games, hitting only five home runs while setting a career high with 94 strikeouts and making 16 errors at third base.

“Last year was an adjustment period for me in pretty much all aspects of the game. New level, new team, new organization, new guys,” Ruiz said.

The 6-foot, 2-inch kid from Covina, California, batted just .179 (24-for-134) in April and May for the M-Braves before getting hot in June (.310 average) and embarking on a 15-game hitting streak in August.

“I think I tried to do too much to impress a lot of people too early in the year instead of just being myself,” he said.

Heading into the 2016 season, the expectations were a bit lower for Ruiz, understandably after his up-and-down season with Mississippi. But he got off to a scorching start for Triple-A Gwinnett this year, collecting 26 hits in April, the fourth-most in the International League.

“I just think that a new year gave me a new opportunity to show what the Braves really found in me and (why they traded for me),” Ruiz said. “It’s a clean slate for me now. It was a lot of new things for me last year and this year, I’m a lot more comfortable with the organization and good things happen when you’re comfortable and when you’re yourself.”

Ruiz, Atlanta’s No. 16 prospect according to MLB.com, has found himself on the lineup card in all but two games through May 16, helping get him more comfortable each day. He said that over the offseason, his focus was on getting better every day and getting back to the way he played in 2013 and 2014 before the trade that brought him to Atlanta along with right-hander Mike Foltynewicz.

“I worked really hard this offseason and I continued it in Spring Training and now here in Gwinnett. Luckily things have worked out so far. We all know this game; you have to stay even-keeled and not get frustrated or even too high,” he said.

The Braves invited Ruiz to Major League Spring Training this year, allowing him to interact with some of the more veteran players and pick their brains to help himself improve. Two players Ruiz singled out – infielders Gordon Beckham and Kelly Johnson – made the biggest impressions on him.

“Those guys helped me tremendously in Spring Training,” he said. “I would just ask them questions about certain situations about playing the field and hitting of course, but I really wanted to learn what their mindset was when they’re on the field. They’re professionals and have been in the big leagues a long time. I wanted to do as much as I could with them and get as much out of it as possible. In that aspect, it was a success for me.”

It’s in the field where Ruiz’s growth has taken the biggest leap in 2016. He posted a fielding percentage of .950 or lower in three straight seasons, committing 52 errors over that span, but by taking ground balls every day and devoting himself to the defensive side of the game, he’s made just three errors in 85 chances (.965 fielding percentage) through May 16 this year.

“My high school coach told me ‘hitting is going to get you there, but defense is going to keep you there.’ That really stuck with me and of course everybody that gets to the big leagues wants to stay there, so I feel if I follow the game plan that I have as far as working and taking ground balls every day, everything should take care of itself,” Ruiz said.

The extra work needed to be successful with the glove is reminiscent of the time Ruiz had to put in at Bishop Amat Memorial High School (La Puente, CA) where he starred as a two-sport athlete, both on the diamond and on the gridiron.

Ruiz verbally committed to play quarterback at the University of Southern California as a freshman in high school and went on to throw for 3,364 yards, 33 touchdowns and a 63 percent completion rate over three years. But when Houston drafted him in the fourth round of the 2012 June draft, Ruiz traded the pigskin for a bat full-time. He batted .433 with 138 hits and 102 RBIs in 104 games at Bishop Amat, helping make the decision a little bit easier.

His experience in conquering a position as physically and mentally demanding as quarterback has helped Ruiz become a better athlete now that he’s a professional baseball player, even though his days on a football field are long gone.

“Some things translate from playing quarterback and now being a third baseman, but that was four, five years ago,” he said. “I don’t do the same things that I did in high school and when I played football. I work specifically now on just baseball-related workouts and working on baseball-centric quickness, but I’m sure a lot of it helps, having that experience.”

Rarely seen without a smile on his face, Ruiz stressed that his experience in Gwinnett to begin the 2016 campaign has been one of his favorites to date, helping keep his mind off the potential next step in his career.

“Ultimately it’s the front office’s decision about whether or not to call someone up and decide if he’s ready or not. My job is to enjoy the time I have here in Gwinnett and not worry about what is ahead of me,” he said. “I can’t say this enough: the group of guys we have here is awesome. I thoroughly enjoy coming to the park every day, knowing the group we have here is great. I don’t put too much pressure on myself at all. Everything will take care of itself if you play the game the right way.”

After being named Gwinnett’s April Player of the Month by Atlanta, Ruiz cooled a bit in early May, batting .200 through his first 14 games. But he remains confident in his abilities while seeing some of his power come back with nine extra-base hits – including two triples and a pair of home runs.

“All it is really, is getting a good pitch to hit and not missing it,” Ruiz said. “I’m already checking some goals off this season. I’m happy with where I am now, nothing is going to bother me. Every day is a new opportunity to get better and it’s a new chance to make my way towards the big leagues.”

Turner Leads Syracuse Past G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Trea Turner broke a scoreless tie with an RBI triple in the eighth inning, pushing the Syracuse Chiefs (25-21) to a 1-0 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (24-25) on Friday night at Coolray Field.

Facing reliever Matt Marksberry (L, 0-2), Turner tripled into the left-center field gap to bring in Scott Sizemore, putting Syracuse up 1-0. Sizemore had led off the eighth with a pinch-hit walk against Marksberry, who walked three and got just one out in the inning before exiting with the bases loaded.Jose Ramirez then got Jason Martinson to bounce into a double play to end the threat.

Jace Peterson singled with one out in the ninth against Rafael Martin (S, 9) but Emilio Bonifaciostruck out and Matt Tuiasosopo popped out to leave the tying run on base.

The game moved at a brisk pace over the first seven innings, as Syracuse starter Austin Voth (W, 3-2) held the G-Braves to just three hits over 7.0 frames. Ryan Weber and Joel De La Cruz matched Voth for Gwinnett, yielding only four hits over the same span while striking out a combined nine.

Weber scattered four hits in 3.2 innings while striking out four and walking none to lower his ERA to 2.81. De La Cruz retired all 10 batters he faced coming out of the bullpen, striking out five of those hitters. He entered in the fourth with two on and two out in relief of Weber and promptly got Tony Campana to line out to short.

Gwinnett managed just four singles on the night, as Ozzie Albies, Tuiasosopo and Brandon Snydereach collected one apiece. Snyder’s 1-for-3 effort extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Voth struck out six and didn’t walk a batter before Trevor Gott (H, 6) got the G-Braves in order in the eighth.

Turner finished 2-for-4 with a double and a triple to lead Syracuse.

The G-Braves and Chiefs continue the three-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Gwinnett will send left-hander Manny Banuelos (0-0, 0.00) to the mound for his second outing of 2016 against fellow southpaw Aaron Laffey (3-1, 3.38) for Syracuse. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

The first 2,500 fans at Saturday’s game will receive a G-Braves’ Camo Hat, presented by Coolray Heating and Cooling. Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Peterson’s Clutch Triple Propels G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Jace Peterson broke the game open with a bases-clearing triple in the seventh inning, helping the Gwinnett Braves (21-22) defeat the Charlotte Knights (22-21) 4-1 on Friday night at Coolray Field.

Peterson’s second hit of the night came after Knights’ reliever Philippe Aumont hit Ozzie Albies to load the bases with two outs. Blake Lalli and Emerson Landoni collected consecutive singles against the right-hander before Peterson recorded his second triple of the season down the right field line.

Charlotte threatened in the ninth against Chris Withrow, loading the bases with one out. J.B. Shuck ended the shutout with a sacrifice fly scoring Leury Garcia, but Withrow got Matt Davidson to fly out to the wall in right field to end the game.

Gwinnett struck first in the fifth inning as Albies bounced a fielder’s choice over the head of right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (L, 0-1) with runners at first and third, scoring Lalli and forcing Landoni at second. Albies now has an RBI in three straight games for Gwinnett.

Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims started for the G-Braves and pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, scattering four hits while walking four and striking out three. He threw 49 of 89 pitches for strikes and left after walking Shuck in the fifth. Jose Ramirez (W, 1-1) relieved Sims and didn’t allow a hit over 2.2 innings while walking two and striking out three. Ramirez squashing a Charlotte scoring chance in the fifth by getting Davidson to fly out to center with two on and two out.

Peterson went 2-for-3 with the triple and three RBIs, while Landoni went 2-for-3 with a run scored for his third two-hit effort in eight games with Gwinnett. Adonis Garcia saw his team-best 13-game hitting streak snapped as he went 0-for-4.

Ranaudo allowed four hits and a run over 4.2 innings for Charlotte, walking one and striking out three. Aumont allowed three runs on three hits over 1.0 inning.

Jason Bourgeois had two of Charlotte’s five hits on the night, going 2-for-3. Garcia scored the lone run after reaching on an error.

The G-Braves and Knights head to Charlotte to begin a two-game series at BB&T Ballpark on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. Right-hander Aaron Blair (3-0, 1.42) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against right-hander Erik Johnson (2-1, 3.57) for Charlotte. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 5:35 p.m.

Davidson Leads Charlotte Past G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Matt Davidson went 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs to lead the Charlotte Knights (22-20) to an 8-6 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (20-22) on Thursday night at Coolray Field.

Davidson, who singled in the third and doubled in the fifth and ninth innings, now has an International League-best 28 RBIs on the season.

Jason Bourgeois put the Knights up 7-2 in the seventh with a two-run home run off David Peterson, but Ozzie Albies cut into the lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the frame. It was the first multi-RBI game for Albies since joining the G-Braves on April 30.

Anthony Recker brought Gwinnett within one at 7-6 with a two-run home run in the eighth, his first homer for the G-Braves and third on the season after hitting two for Columbus earlier in the year.

But Davidson’s second RBI double of the night scored Omar Narvaez from first base with two outs in the ninth, giving the Knights breathing room.

Michael Ynoa (S, 3) got the G-Braves in order in the ninth to preserve the victory for Chris Volstad (W, 3-3). Volstad, who began Spring Training with Atlanta, allowed two runs on six hits in 5.0 innings while striking out three and walking one.

Blake Smith and Will Lamb combined to allow four runs on six hits over the next 3.0 innings for Charlotte, but the Knights did enough against G-Braves’ starter Ryan Weber (L, 0-2) and Peterson to offset the damage.

Weber, making his second start of the season, yielded two runs on six hits over 4.0 innings, throwing 43 of his 67 pitches for strikes. Bourgeois and Davidson collected consecutive RBI singles off Weber in the third inning to put Charlotte ahead 2-0. Peterson gave up five runs on five hits over 2.1 innings, raising the Knights’ lead to 7-2.

The G-Braves fought back to score twice in the fifth, closing the gap to 4-2. Rio Ruiz began the inning with a double into the left-field corner and Sean Kazmar Jr. followed with a double, his into the right-field corner to plate Ruiz. After Recker grounded out, Brandon Snyder bounced a double over the bag at third base, scoring Kazmar Jr.

Kazmar Jr., Recker and Snyder each finished with two hits apiece and Kazmar Jr. and Recker each scored twice. Albies also picked up two hits, going 2-for-5 with the pair of RBI for Gwinnett. Adonis Garcia went 1-for-5 with a double, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.

Gwinnett concludes the brief two-game series with the Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The G-Braves will send Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims (0-3, 6.39 ERA) to the mound, while the Knights will counter with right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 2.25 ERA). Tony Schiavone and Nick Green will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Following Friday’s game, stick around for FOX 5 Friday Night Fireworks. Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Albies’ Leadoff Homer Powers G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Ozzie Albies hit a leadoff home run to start a three-run rally in the first inning, leading the Gwinnett Braves (20-21) to a 4-2 victory over the Durham Bulls (17-24) on Wednesday afternoon at Coolray Field.

Albies crushed the second pitch from Durham left-hander Adam Wilk (L, 1-4) to center field for his second home run with Gwinnett and third overall on the year. It was the first leadoff homer by a G-Brave since Eury Perez did it on May 9, 2015 at Lehigh Valley.

After Albies’ home run, Emilio Bonifacio singled and Matt Tuiasosopo reached on a fielder’s choice before Adonis Garcia doubled into the gap in right-center. Bonifacio scored easily to put the G-Braves up 2-0, but Tuiasosopo was cut down at the plate for the first out of the inning. After Sean Kazmar Jr.singled to move Garcia to third and Rio Ruiz struck out, Brandon Snyder hit an RBI single to center, capping the frame.

Pitching in relief for the first time in his career, Tyrell Jenkins (W, 4-2) tossed 6.0 innings, scattering seven hits and allowing two runs. He walked three and struck out one while throwing 101 pitches (63 strikes). Carlos Corporan singled home Richie Shaffer to cut into the G-Braves’ lead in the fourth and Nick Franklin picked up the Bulls’ final RBI an inning later on a sacrifice fly.

For the second time in the series, Atlanta Braves right-hander Shae Simmons worked a scoreless first inning. In his second rehab start, Simmons allowed a leadoff single and walked the next two Bulls to load the bases with nobody out, but he struck out Franklin and Kyle Roller looking before getting Shaffer swinging to escape unscathed.

With the first-inning RBI double, Garcia has now hit safely in 12 straight games and has recorded an RBI in eight straight games. Bonifacio went 1-for-2 to extend his own hitting streak to nine games and Kazmar Jr. was 2-for-3 for the G-Braves.

Following its five-hit first inning against Wilk, Gwinnett managed just two more hits the rest of the way, as Dylan Floro and Tyler Sturdevant tossed 2.2 innings of relief, yielding only one baserunner.

Wilk struck out seven over 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits. Jaff Decker went 3-for-4 with a walk and Juniel Querecuto was 2-for-5 with a run for the Bulls.

Gwinnett begins a two-game home series with the Charlotte Knights on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander John Gant (3-0, 2.97) is scheduled to pitch for the G-Braves, opposite right-hander Chris Volstad (2-3, 4.33) for the Knights. Tony Schiavone and Nick Green will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Thursday’s game is the first Triple Play Thursday of the season, sponsored by Coolray Heating & Cooling. For $40, fans can purchase four (4) infield box tickets, four (4) hot dogs and four (4) sodas. Tickets for Thursday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Durham Edges G-Braves, 5-3

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Mikie Mahtook went 2-for-5 and recorded the go-ahead RBI single in the fifth inning, pushing the Durham Bulls (17-23) past the Gwinnett Braves (19-21) 5-3 on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.

After Juniel Querecuto led off the fifth with a single off G-Braves’ starter Kanekoa Texeira (L, 1-3) and advanced to second on a passed ball, Mahtook singled to left, breaking a 2-2 tie. Mahtook stole second and scored on Daniel Robertson’s RBI single two batters later to extend the lead and end Texeira’s night.

The Bulls added an insurance run off reliever Brandon Cunniff in the eighth and withstood a Gwinnett rally attempt in the bottom of the eighth to win the middle game of the three-game series.

Dayron Varona went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI double for Durham, leading a 13-hit charge. Mahtook was one of five Durham hitters with two hits in the game.

Gwinnett pounced on Durham starter Austin Pruitt (W, 3-2) in the first inning, stringing together four straight two-out hits, as Jace Peterson tripled, Adonis Garcia knocked him in with a single, Matt Tuiasosopo singled and Rio Ruiz plated Garcia with an RBI single to left.

But the G-Braves wouldn’t get anything more against Pruitt, recording just three hits over the next six innings. The Durham righty scattered seven hits and allowed two runs in 7.0 innings, walking one and striking out five.

Gwinnett threatened in the eighth against Ryan Garton (H, 2), as Garcia doubled home Emilio Bonifacio from first to cut the deficit to 5-3. The G-Braves would load the bases with two outs, butBlake Lalli grounded to third to end the frame. An Anthony Recker single to open the ninth brought the tying run to the plate, but Neil Wagner (S, 1) set down the next three hitters to preserve the win.

Texeira went 4.2 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs (three earned) while striking out three and walking one. Joel De La Cruz allowed two hits and a walk over 2.1 scoreless innings of relief and Cunniff yielded a run on three hits over 2.0 innings.

Garcia extended his streak of consecutive games recording an RBI to seven. He’s also tallied at least one hit in 11 straight games. Tuiasosopo’s first-inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games and Bonifacio’s eighth-inning single raised his own hitting streak to eight. Ronnier Mustelier added two hits for the G-Braves.

The teams conclude the three-game series on Wednesday morning at Coolray Field at 10:35 a.m. Right-hander Tyrell Jenkins (3-2, 3.03) will start for Gwinnett against left-hander Adam Wilk (1-3, 2.83) for Durham. Tony Schiavone and Nick Green will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 10:05 a.m.

Wednesday’s game is the second of two Belk Education Days. Tickets for Wednesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Albies Shines in G-Braves’ Win

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Ozzie Albies scored the go-ahead run as part of a seventh-inning rally as the Gwinnett Braves (19-20) edged the Durham Bulls (16-23) 4-1 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Coolray Field.

With one out in the seventh and the game tied at 1-1, Albies singled up the middle for his third hit of the night. Bulls’ reliever Danny Farquhar (L, 1-1) attempted to pick him off first base, but his throw ended up down the right field line and Albies raced to third. Three pitches later, Farquhar balked, allowing Albies to score the eventual winning run.

Albies went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored, his second three-hit night in 16 games for Gwinnett. He’s now batting .250, the highest his average has been since joining the club on April 30.

Emilio Bonifacio followed with a triple into the right field corner and Jace Peterson reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing Bonifacio to score for a 3-1 lead. Adonis Garcia then doubled home Peterson to cap the inning.

The three-run seventh made a winner out of Casey Kelly (W, 2-1), who tossed 7.0 innings in relief. Kelly came on after Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Shae Simmons worked a scoreless inning in his first rehab start with Gwinnett. In his first outing since February 2015 “Tommy John” surgery, Simmons struck out the side, pitching around a leadoff triple and a two-out walk.

Kelly entered in the second and yielded just three hits to the Bulls while striking out seven. The lone blemish on his night came in the fifth when Carlos Corporan homered just over the right field fence, tying the game at 1-1. Kelly retired the final 10 batters he faced and walked just one, throwing 63 of his 95 pitches for strikes in the longest relief outing of his career.

Matt Tuiasosopo put Gwinnett on the board first in the second inning, blasting a leadoff home run to dead center field. Tuiasosopo would add a double to finish 2-for-3, extending his hitting streak to eight games. He and Albies combined for five of the G-Braves’ nine hits.

Matt Marksberry (H, 1), and Chris Withrow (S, 3) combined to get the final three outs, registering a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless ninth. Gwinnett struck out 12 Bulls’ hitters on the night and held Durham to just five hits.

Garcia saw his four-game home run streak come to an end, but his RBI double extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his RBI streak to six games. Bonifacio’s triple, his first of the season, extended his hitting streak to seven games.

The G-Braves and Bulls continue the three-game series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Right-hander Kanekoa Texeira (1-2, 2.70) is scheduled to pitch for Gwinnett against right-hander Austin Pruitt (2-2, 2.70) for Durham. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

It’s a Two-for-Tuesday night, as all Dugout seats are two for the price of one. Tickets for Tuesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.