G-Braves Edge Norfolk in Series Finale

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Sean Kazmar Jr. and Emerson Landoni struck for consecutive doubles in a three-run fourth inning as the Gwinnett Braves (39-48) earned a 3-2 victory over the Norfolk Tides (34-53) on Wednesday afternoon at Coolray Field.

The teams waited out a 1-hour and 6-minute rain delay with one out in the top of the fourth before the G-Braves caught fire to erase a 1-0 deficit. With the win, Gwinnett moved into a temporary two-way tie with Charlotte for first place in the International League South Division. The Knights (39-48) host Pawtucket at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night.

L.J. Hoes put Norfolk up 1-0 with a leadoff home run off starter Casey Kelly in the fourth. After the G-Braves’ right-hander struck out Trey Mancini, the skies opened and the game was delayed.

When play resumed, Norfolk loaded the bases against Ryan Weber, but couldn’t push across another run.

Ronnier Mustelier led off the bottom of the fourth with an infield single and after Rio Ruiz grounded out, Kazmar Jr. doubled off the base of the wall in left-center to tie the game at 1-1. Landoni followed with an RBI double down the right field line to put the G-Braves ahead.

Two batters later, Matt Lipka provided the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly, scoring Landoni.

Hoes’ home run was the only blemish on Kelly’s ledger on the day as the right-hander allowed three hits in 3.1 innings while striking out four and walking none. He threw 33 of his 47 pitches for strikes.

Weber (W, 2-3) worked 2.2 innings in relief to get the win, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out one. Stephen Janas (H, 3) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings and Maikel Cleto (S, 1) allowed a run and put Tides’ runners on the corners with one out in the ninth, but got a pop-up and a strikeout to clinch the win.

Kazmar Jr. and Landoni each had two hits and scored runs for the G-Braves. Omar Infante singled and doubled in his Gwinnett debut.

Norfolk starter Andy Oliver had yielded only three hits over the first 3.0 innings before being lifted for reliever Scott McGough (L, 2-3) following the rain delay. The G-Braves had four hits and scored all three runs against McGough in the fourth. Michael Almanzar went 2-for-4 and Mike Yastrzemski went 2-for-3 with a walk for the Tides.

The G-Braves travel to Charlotte for a four-game series beginning on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Manny Banuelos (0-2, 4.44) is slated to pitch for Gwinnett against right-hander Scott Carroll (2-6, 5.05) for the Knights. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m. from BB&T Park.