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.