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.