LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Jesus Aguilar hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning off reliever Jose Ramirez, pushing the Columbus Clippers (16-7) to a 7-5 win over the Gwinnett Braves (13-12) on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.
Aguilar’s homer capped a four-run inning against Ramirez (L, 0-1) and sent the Clippers to their 11thstraight victory. Guillermo Quiroz led off the seventh with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Ronny Rodriguez’s double. After a deep fly ball advanced Rodriguez to third and Erik Gonzalez walked, Aguilar hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center, putting Columbus ahead 6-4.
Gwinnett mounted a rally in the eighth against Jarrett Grube, scoring a run and nearly tying the game. With one out, Ronnier Mustelier reached on an error by shortstop Gonzalez and raced home whenRio Ruiz lined a double into the right field corner. One batter later, Brandon Snyder lined a single to left sending Ruiz around third base, but Robbie Grossman’s throw beat him to the plate for the second out. Blake Lalli grounded out to first to end the inning.
Columbus added an insurance run in the ninth against Joel De La Cruz as Gonzalez doubled and scored on a single by Giovanny Urshela.
The G-Braves put two on with one out against Shawn Armstrong (S, 2) in the bottom of the ninth, butRyan Lavarnway and Matt Tuiasosopo each struck out swinging to end it.
Gwinnett got off to a fast start, as Chase d’Arnaud and Reid Brignac connected on back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning against Clippers’ starter Cody Anderson. It was the first homer of the season for both d’Arnaud and Brignac, and the blasts came on consecutive pitches. It’s the first back-to-back homers for Gwinnett since Phil Gosselin and Todd Cunningham did it on June 25, 2014 vs. Toledo.
Armed with an early lead, G-Braves’ starter Tyrell Jenkins posted his fourth straight quality start, allowing just one earned run over 6.0 innings. Jenkins scattered five hits, walked three and struck out four.
Columbus briefly tied the game at 2-2 against Jenkins in the fourth, as Urshela and Joey Butler each picked up RBI singles, but Gwinnett inched back ahead in the bottom of the frame.
Snyder’s RBI single put the G-Braves ahead 3-2 in the fourth and Gwinnett would go up 4-2 two innings later when Lalli added an RBI single.
Anderson allowed seven hits and four runs through 5.2 innings in his first Triple-A start of the season. He walked three and struck out six, yielding the two first-inning home runs. Felipe Paulino (W, 1-0) got just one out to record the victory.
Ruiz fell a homer shy of the cycle for the G-Braves, going 3-for-3 with a double, triple and an RBI. Snyder went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Urshela went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Aguilar was 1-for-3 with the homer, three RBIs and two runs scored for the Clippers.
The G-Braves open a three-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday evening at Coolray Field, first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Starting pitchers for both clubs have yet to be officially announced. Tony Schiavone and Nick Green will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets for Monday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.