LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Charlotte Knights (36-40) jumped on Joel De La Cruz in the top of the first inning and rode the pitching of Jacob Turner to a 5-0 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (33-42) on Friday night at Coolray Field.
Before De La Cruz (L, 1-3) got an out, a Matt Davidson RBI single put the Knights on top. Carlos Sanchez was able to score on a throwing error by second baseman Ozzie Albies and Leury Garcia capped the frame with an RBI double.
The 3-0 lead would be more than enough for Turner (W, 4-6), who cruised through 9.0 scoreless innings in the third complete game of his professional career. He allowed just six hits in his second career complete-game shutout, his first since tossing a three-hitter on July 7, 2012 with Triple-A Toledo at Louisville. He didn’t put more than one runner on in a single inning and threw 71 of his 101 pitches for strikes while racking up five strikeouts and issuing no walks.
De La Cruz set a new single-game career-high by going 8.0 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned). Outside of the three-run first, he allowed a pair of solo home runs, one by Sanchez leading off the third and another by Brett Hayes leading off the seventh. De La Cruz struck out three and walked two.
Matt Marksberry tossed a perfect ninth for Gwinnett. Ronnier Mustelier went 2-for-3 with a double and Rio Ruiz extended his hitting streak to nine games with a second-inning single.
Sanchez and Davidson each picked up two hits for Charlotte and Nicky Delmonico was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
The G-Braves and Knights continue the three-game series at Coolray Field on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Casey Kelly (2-3, 2.96) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against right-hander Chris Volstad (5-5, 4.24) for Charlotte. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Saturday night’s game, sponsored by RaceTrac, features a Water Bottle/Mister Giveaway (presented by Coolray Heating and Cooling) for the first 2,500 fans through the gates. Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.