LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Indianapolis Indians (40-33) struck for five runs in the fifth inning to turn a two-run deficit into a three-run advantage en route to a 9-5 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (33-41) on Thursday night at Coolray Field.
The Indians got each of their first seven batters on base safely in the inning, chasing G-Braves’ starterChris Ellis (L, 0-2). The frame began with Ellis walking the opposing pitcher, Trevor Williams, before issuing base-on-balls to both Austin Meadows and Max Moroff to load the bases.
From there, Indianapolis broke through, getting runs on a fielder’s choice and consecutive singles to end Ellis’ night and take the lead. Reliever Ryan Weber came on and issued a walk before Ed Easley capped the inning with a two-RBI groundout.
The Indians got two more in the seventh and one in the ninth to earn a series split after dropping consecutive walk-off decisions to the G-Braves the previous two nights.
Josh Bell finished a home run shy of the cycle, knocked in two and scored three runs for Indianapolis. He and Cole Figueroa (2-for-4) were the only Indians’ hitters with more than one hit.
Easley’s RBI single in the fourth was just Indianapolis’ second hit against Ellis, who walked two over the first three frames. The right-hander allowed only three hits in 4.1 innings, but walked five and yielded five earned runs. He threw 59 of his 101 pitches for strikes and racked up five strikeouts.
Anthony Recker and Rio Ruiz extended hitting streaks for Gwinnett and both scored in a three-run fourth to briefly give the G-Braves the lead. With one out, Recker pushed his streak to 11 games and Ruiz followed with his second hit of the night, adding to his eight-game run. Three batters later, Matt Lipka laced a two-RBI single to right field off Williams (W, 2-3). Blake Lalli raced home on a wild pitch for the third run.
Pinch-hitter Braeden Schlehuber got a run back for Gwinnett in the sixth on an RBI groundout, andMel Rojas Jr. doubled and scored his second run of the night in the eighth to cap the G-Braves’ output.
Kelvin Marte (S, 1) got the final 10 outs in relief, allowing only two hits and an unearned run over 3.1 innings for Indianapolis. Williams was 1-for-2 with a walk and run scored while tossing 5.2 innings and scattering 10 hits for the Indians. He allowed four runs and struck out three.
Ronnier Mustelier and Ruiz each had three hits for Gwinnett and Rojas Jr. went 2-for-4.
Gwinnett opens a three-game weekend series against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 p.m. on Friday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Joel De La Cruz (1-2, 4.89) will pitch for the G-Braves against right-hander Jacob Turner (3-6, 5.35) for Charlotte. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Following Friday’s game, there will be a FOX 5 Friday Night Fireworks display. Tickets for the game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.