LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Mel Rojas Jr. and Rio Ruiz each homered and the Gwinnett Braves (38-48) got another stellar start from Rob Wooten in a 3-1 victory over the Norfolk Tides (34-52) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.
Rojas Jr. took Norfolk starter Joe Gunkel (L, 5-6) deep with two outs in the third inning for his first home run with Gwinnett. After Matt Lipka doubled for the G-Braves’ first hit of the night and Braeden Schlehuber flew out, Rojas Jr. crushed the 440-foot blast over the visitor’s bullpen down the right field line.
An inning later, also with two outs, Ruiz lashed his fifth homer of the year onto the berm in right-center to put Gwinnett up 3-0.
That would be more than enough for Wooten (W, 2-1), who scattered six hits and a walk while striking out four over 6.0 scoreless innings. Including his 6.0-innings of no-hit baseball in his previous start on June 30 at Louisville, Wooten has yet to allow a run in 15.0 innings over three career starts.
Norfolk threatened in the fourth inning when Christian Walker tripled with one out, but Wooten got a pop out and a groundout to end the inning. The Tides loaded the bases with one out in the sixth before Wooten struck out Audry Perez and got a grounder to first from Mike Yastrzemski to escape.
Xavier Avery led off the eighth with a solo home run off reliever Matt Marksberry (H, 5), but Brandon Cunniff (H, 3) retired the next three hitters to hold a 3-1 lead. Jose Ramirez (S, 5) worked a perfect ninth inning for his fifth save.
Ronnier Mustelier went 2-for-4 and was the only G-Brave to record a multi-hit game, while Ruiz homered for the first time since June 21 vs. Indianapolis.
Gunkel allowed three runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings while striking out seven and walking none for Norfolk. Avery was 2-for-4 with his home run and Walker went 2-for-3 for the Tides.
The G-Braves and Tides conclude the three-game series at Coolray Field on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. Gwinnett will send right-hander Casey Kelly (2-4, 4.09) to oppose left-hander Andy Oliver (0-1, 2.80) for Norfolk. Dave Lezotte will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 11:35 a.m.
Wednesday is the second Daycare Day of 2016, presented by Belk. Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.