LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Christian Walker capped a three-run first inning with a towering home run and Trey Mancini had three RBIs as the Norfolk Tides (34-51) defeated the Gwinnett Braves (37-48) 7-0 on Monday night at Coolray Field. A season-high 9,682 fans attended the Independence Day contest.
With one out in the first inning, Paul Janish singled and Mancini doubled into the left-center gap to put the Tides up 1-0 on G-Braves’ starter Aaron Blair. Three pitches later, Walker blasted his 10th homer of the year to deep left field to make it 3-0.
Norfolk got two more against Blair in the second, doing all its damage with two outs. Ozzie Martinez started the rally with a single and moved to second when Xavier Avery was hit by a pitch. After Blair walked Janish, Mancini singled up the middle to plate a pair and put the Tides up 5-0.
The Tides tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, taking advantage of two Blair wild pitches.
Gwinnett managed to get runners on base in each of the first five innings against Tides’ starter David Hale, but couldn’t get on the board. Hale, a former G-Brave, allowed two hits and a walk in 3.2 innings in his first start back from a stint on the disabled list. Left-hander Edgar Olmos (W, 3-1) followed with 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.
The G-Braves loaded the bases against Olmos in the sixth with two outs, but Ronnier Musteliergrounded out to second to end Gwinnett’s biggest scoring threat of the night.
Blair (L, 3-2), who entered the game having not allowed a run over 13.0 innings at Coolray Field this season, yielded seven runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings. He walked two, struck out six and issued three wild pitches. Bradley Roney (2.0 innings), Maikel Cleto (1.0 inning) and Jose Ramirez (1.0 inning) held Norfolk off the board over the final four innings.
Mel Rojas Jr. reached base safely four times (2-for-2, 2 BB) and Rio Ruiz doubled and walked twice for the G-Braves, who managed just six hits on the night.
Six Norfolk batters notched two hits in the game, including Mancini, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Walker, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
The G-Braves and Tides continue the three-game series at Coolray Field on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Rob Wooten (1-1, 2.08), fresh off six no-hit innings in his last outing at Louisville, is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against right-hander Joe Gunkel (5-5, 3.93) for Norfolk. 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.