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.