LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (27-34) scored twice without the benefit of a hit in the third inning to emerge with a 2-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (32-28) on Thursday afternoon at Coolray Field. The G-Braves split the four-game series with wins in the final two games.
With two outs in the third, Ozzie Albies and Emilio Bonifacio worked walks against IronPigs’ starter Zach Eflin (L, 5-2). Albies stole second and third base and Bonifacio swiped second base to get into scoring position. Ronnier Mustelier hit a sharp grounder to second base, but Darnell Sweeney bobbled the ball and threw late to first, allowing both runners to race around and score, putting the G-Braves up 2-1.
Gwinnett did not record its first hit until Albies singled with two outs in the fifth off Eflin. Mustelier’s one-out single in the sixth was the G-Braves’ only other hit on the day.
Starter Ryan Weber and relievers Matt Marksberry and Rob Wooten held the IronPigs in check all afternoon, striking out a combined 10 while allowing only six hits.
Weber yielded three hits and a run in 4.0 innings, allowing a sacrifice fly to Will Venable in the second as the IronPigs took a 1-0 lead. Marksberry (W, 2-2) struck out four over 2.2 innings of relief to earn his second win of the year before Wooten (S, 1) got the final seven outs for the save.
Wooten worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and pitched around a one-out double in the ninth to pick up his first save since June 1, 2015 for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Albies finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored while recording his fifth and sixth stolen bases of the year. Bonifacio was 0-for-2 with a walk, run scored and his International League-leading 20th stolen base of the year. Sean Kazmar Jr. saw his nine-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-3 afternoon.
Taylor Featherston went 2-for-4 for Lehigh Valley and Eflin didn’t allow an earned run while holding Gwinnett to just one hit in 5.1 innings.
Gwinnett opens a three-game weekend series against the Norfolk Tides at 7:05 p.m. on Friday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Lucas Sims (1-5, 7.40) will pitch for the G-Braves against lefty Nick Additon (1-5, 3.35) for Norfolk. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Friday night is Super Hero Night at Coolray Field, presented by Gwinnett Medical Center. Both teams will wear special super hero themed jerseys, which will be auctioned off and autographed following the game. The night concludes with FOX 5 Friday Night Fireworks. Tickets for Friday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.