LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Tyler Austin homered and drove in three runs and Gary Sanchez also picked up three RBIs to lead the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (58-35) to a 9-3 win over the Gwinnett Braves (41-52) on Friday night at Coolray Field.
Sanchez got Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on the board with a first-inning sacrifice fly off G-Braves’ starter Chris Ellis (L, 1-4) and capped a four-run second inning with another sacrifice fly as the visitors built an early 5-1 lead.
Gwinnett had tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Emilio Bonifacio singled, stole second and scored on a one-out RBI single by Ronnier Mustelier. Ellis, however, walked the first two hitters in the second before the RailRiders strung together three straight hits to build a four-run advantage.
Austin hit a two-run single in a three-run fourth after Ellis had been chased from the game. Three innings later, Austin crushed the first pitch from reliever Bradley Roney deep to left field for his 10thhome run of the season.
Mel Rojas Jr. hit his fifth homer of the season with one out in the fourth and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the G-Braves’ offensive attack. He raced around from second on a ball that didn’t leave the infield off the bat of Sean Kazmar Jr. in the seventh to cap Gwinnett’s scoring
The G-Braves managed only four hits after the first inning against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Luis Severino (W, 6-1). The RailRiders’ right-hander allowed six hits and three runs in 6.2 innings while walking one and striking out three. He threw 72 of his 105 pitches for strikes.
Ellis lasted only 3.1 innings for the G-Braves, yielding a career-high eight runs on six hits while walking five and striking out two. The righty threw 37 of his 74 pitches for strikes.
Four Gwinnett relievers registered six strikeouts over the final 5.2 innings, including three by Roney over 2.0 innings.
Jose Rosario went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Austin, Ben Gamel and Donovan Solano all registered two-hit games.
The G-Braves and RailRiders will play game three of the four-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Aaron Blair (3-2, 4.26) will start for Gwinnett against right-hander Luis Cessa (3-1, 3.22) for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a bobblehead of legendary Atlanta Braves’ slugger Hank Aaron, presented by Coolray Heating and Cooling. Following the game will be the Georgia 811 Diamond Dig, as 100 preselected guests will have the chance to “dig” for diamonds in the Coolray Field infield. Tickets for Saturday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.