LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Josh Bell homered and Alen Hanson went 3-for-5 to lead the Indianapolis Indians (39-31) to a 7-5 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (31-40) on Monday night at Coolray Field.
Bell’s solo home run in the fourth off G-Braves’ starter Casey Kelly (L, 2-3) just barely cleared the wall in right-center to put the Indians up 2-0. Indianapolis would add another run in the inning and tack on four more against Gwinnett’s bullpen to take the series opener.
Hanson singled twice and tripled, scoring two runs and knocking in one. His triple leading off the seventh off reliever Ryan Weber spearheaded a two-run rally to put Indianapolis up 6-2, but Gwinnett wouldn’t go away quietly.
Pitcher Brandon Cunniff led off the seventh with his first career hit and came around to score on a groundout by Reid Brignac, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Indianapolis got the run right back in the top of the eighth, but the G-Braves struck for two runs in the ninth to make it 7-5.
Blake Lalli collected a two-run single in the ninth and the G-Braves put the tying runs on, but Dovydas Neverauskas struck out Anthony Recker and got Rio Ruiz to ground out to end it.
Gwinnett trailed 4-0 through five innings, but cut the deficit in half with a two-run sixth. With one out, the G-Braves collected four straight singles, with Ronnier Mustelier and Sean Kazmar Jr.‘s base hits driving in runs.
Mustelier went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI and both Ruiz and Ozzie Albies went 2-for-5 as the G-Braves produced 16 hits on the night, but were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Everyone who batted except for Kelly had at least one hit, including pinch-hitters Emerson Landoniand Braeden Schlehuber.
Kelly, who entered play with a 0.31 ERA in 29.0 innings at Coolray Field this season, allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks in 4.0 innings. Weber yielded three runs on three hits in 1.0 inning and Cunniff struck out five while allowing one run in 2.0 innings of relief.
Hanson was the only Indians’ hitter with more than one hit. Six different players recorded an RBI for Indianapolis.
Indianapolis starter Chad Kuhl (W, 6-2) scattered 10 hits in 5.2 innings and allowed two runs, before the G-Braves got three runs against reliever Kelvin Marte in 2.2 innings. Neverauskas (S, 2) got the final two outs for his second save.
The teams continue the four-game series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Lucas Harrell(2-1, 3.81) is scheduled to pitch for the G-Braves against righty Wilfredo Boscan (5-5, 3.33) for Indianapolis. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
It’s a Two-for-Tuesday night, as all Dugout seats are two for the price of one. Tickets for Tuesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.