Brignac Homers Twice in G-Braves’ Win

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Reid Brignac doubled, homered twice and drove in three runs, powering the Gwinnett Braves (59-72) to an 8-3 victory over the Buffalo Bisons (64-68) on Wednesday night at Coolray Field.

The G-Braves remain in second place in the International League South Division, as first-place Charlotte (60-72) beat Durham 6-5 to stay a half-game ahead of Gwinnett with 12 games to play.

Brignac doubled and scored in the first inning before homering in the sixth and seventh innings for his sixth career multi-homer game. It was the first time he homered twice in a game since May 8, 2014 for Triple-A Lehigh Valley at Charlotte.

The G-Braves’ second baseman led off the sixth with a solo home run against Buffalo starter Casey Lawrence (L, 4-5) to break a 1-1 tie, and his two-run homer capped a pivotal four-run seventh inning to help Gwinnett put it out of reach.

Against reliever Ryan Tepera, Brignac got just enough of the first pitch he saw in the at-bat, as the ball hit the top of the fence down the right-field line and bounced over to put Gwinnett up 6-1.

Just two batters prior to Brignac’s second round-tripper, Braeden Schlehuber ripped a two-run single past a drawn-in infield to give the G-Braves a 4-1 lead.

Both teams scored first-inning runs, with Buffalo’s Darrell Ceciliani hitting a solo home run off G-Braves’ starter Rob Wooten and Gwinnett answering on an RBI single by Tyler Moore.

Bradley Roney (W, 3-0) spun 3.0 innings of one-hit relief to keep the Bisons off the board. Wooten, making his fourth start of the season, allowed just one run on four hits over 4.0 innings while striking out three and throwing 43 of his 63 pitches for strikes.

Moore led off the eighth inning with his second home run of the season, capping a 2-for-4 night in his first game with Gwinnett since May 4. Schlehuber capped the G-Braves’ scoring output with an RBI single in the eighth, giving him three RBIs on the night.

Chris Colabello took Gwinnett reliever Maikel Cleto deep for a two-run home run in the top of the eighth and finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Jesus Montero singled, doubled and scored for Buffalo.

The G-Braves and Bisons conclude the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night at Coolray Field. Left-hander Jed Bradley (1-0, 1.50) will pitch for Gwinnett against righty Scott Copeland (3-1, 2.30) for Buffalo. Dave Lezotte will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Thursday’s game is another Triple Play Thursday. For $40, fans can purchase four (4) infield box tickets, four (4) hot dogs and four (4) sodas. Tickets for Thursday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Early Outburst Carries G-Braves By Buffalo

LAWRENCEIVLLE, GA – Emilio Bonifacio and Mel Rojas Jr. each homered and the Gwinnett Braves (58-72) pounced early in an 8-4 victory over the Buffalo Bisons (64-67) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.

The G-Braves remain a half-game behind Charlotte (59-72) for first place in the International League South Division. The Knights defeated Durham 3-2 in 10 innings on Tuesday night.

After falling behind 2-0 on a two-run double by Jesus Montero in the top of the first inning, the G-Braves got the runs right back on an RBI double by Rio Ruiz and an RBI single by Sean Kazmar Jr. in the bottom of the first.

An inning later, Bonifacio crushed a three-run homer into the Bisons’ bullpen down the right-field line to put Gwinnett ahead for good. Bonifacio’s blast off Buffalo starter Mike Bolsinger (L, 1-3) was his first homer since June 15 at Lehigh Valley.

In the third, Blake Lalli doubled and Rojas Jr. blasted a two-run homer onto the berm in right for his ninth round-tripper of the season.

After a rough start, Aaron Blair (W, 5-4) managed to get through 5.0 innings and pick up the win for Gwinnett. The right-hander allowed three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out three. Casey Kotchman led off the fourth with a solo homer off Blair, who threw 45 of his 80 pitches for strikes.

Jason Hursh, Brandon Cunniff and Shae Simmons finished it off for Gwinnett, tossing the final 4.0 innings in relief. Buffalo picked up a run in the seventh off Hursh, ending his 29-inning minor-league scoreless streak dating back to June 23 with Double-A Mississippi.

Brandon Snyder provided the G-Braves’ final run with an RBI double in the sixth, plating Reid Brignac who had also doubled.

Kazmar Jr., Snyder and Rojas Jr. each had two hits for Gwinnett, which had 11 in the game and went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Montero had two of Buffalo’s 11 hits and knocked in a pair of runs and Andy Burns went 2-for-4 for the Bisons, who were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring positions and left 13 men on base.

Bolsinger was charged with seven runs (six earned) in 2.2 innings while walking three. The G-Braves added a run against reliever Jason Berken, who went 3.1 innings out of Buffalo’s bullpen.

The G-Braves continue the three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Matt Wisler (2-1, 3.71) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against righty Casey Lawrence (4-4, 3.65) for Buffalo. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Tickets for Wednesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Three-Run 6th Sends Rochester By G-Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Rochester Red Wings (72-58) sent eight men to the plate in a pivotal three-run sixth inning in a 5-3 win over the Gwinnett Braves (57-72) on Monday night at Coolray Field.

The loss, coupled with Charlotte’s 3-0 win over Buffalo, bumped the G-Braves into second place in the International League South, a half-game behind the Knights (58-72).

Gwinnett had a 2-1 lead through five innings, but Chris Ellis (L, 4-5) ran into trouble in the sixth. Byron Buxton led off with a single and Ellis hit Tommy Field before walking Reynaldo Rodriguez to load the bases.

A walk to Kennys Vargas tied the game and ended Ellis’ night, but reliever Maikel Cleto couldn’t get his teammate out of the jam upon entry.

Adam Brett Walker greeted Cleto with a sacrifice fly to left, putting the Red Wings ahead and moving both runners into scoring position. Logan Schafer ripped an RBI single to cap the rally and put Rochester up 4-2.

Gwinnett jumped on Rochester starter Andrew Albers (W, 10-6) for two runs in the first inning whenSean Kazmar Jr. muscled a broken-bat, two-run single into shallow center field.

Emerson Landoni chased Albers from the game with an RBI double over the first base bag to make it 4-3 in the sixth, but Tommy Field made a running catch in shallow right-center to rob Daniel Castroand bail out reliever Jake Reed to keep Rochester in front.

The Red Wings added a run in the eighth against Wilfredo Boscan to push the lead to 5-3 on an RBI single by John Ryan Murphy.

The G-Braves put the tying runs on in the ninth against Alex Wimmers (S, 11) but the Red Wings’ closer struck out Reid Brignac to end it.

Buxton went 3-for-5 to pace the Rochester attack and Field hit a solo home run in the fourth and scored twice for the Red Wings.

Blake Lalli went 3-for-4 with his 18th double of the season and Bonifacio was 2-for-4 with his IL-leading 37th stolen base of the season for Gwinnett. Ellis allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 5.0 innings while striking out five.

The G-Braves begin a three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Aaron Blair (4-4, 4.59) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against righty Mike Bolsinger (1-2, 5.68) for Buffalo. 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.

Rochester Holds On To Beat Gwinnett, 3-2

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Rochester Red Wings (71-58) struck for three runs over the first two innings and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (56-71) on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.

Byron Buxton got the Red Wings off on the right foot, lacing a triple to left-center on the game’s first pitch from Stephen Janas (L, 2-2) and scoring one batter later on an infield single by Wilfredo Tovar.

Janas yielded three more singles in the second inning, including RBI singles to Logan Schafer and Leonardo Reginatto as Rochester raised the lead to 3-0.

Sean Kazmar Jr. blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the second and Brandon Snyder also homered off Rochester starter Nick Greenwood (W, 5-3) in the sixth, but that would be all the G-Braves could muster against the Red Wings’ lefty.

Greenwood held Gwinnett to just five hits over 8.0 innings while not walking a batter and striking out four. Alan Busenitz (S, 1) worked around a two-out single by Kazmar in a scoreless ninth to pick up the save.

Janas, making a spot start for the G-Braves, yielded three runs (two earned) on six hits over 4.0 innings while registering one strikeout and no walks. Bradley Roney struck out seven over 3.0 scoreless innings and Maikel Cleto and Shae Simmons each struck out two in their scoreless innings for Gwinnett.

Schafer went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the only Red Wing in the game with multiple hits.

Kazmar had Gwinnett’s only multi-hit effort, going 2-for-4 with his fifth homer of the season. Snyder’s third blast with the G-Braves was his only hit in a 1-for-4 day.

The G-Braves and Red Wings conclude the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Monday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Chris Ellis (4-4, 6.27) will start for the G-Braves against lefty Andrew Albers (9-6, 3.64) for Rochester. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

Tickets for Monday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Ruiz Powers G-Braves Past Rochester

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Rio Ruiz tripled and homered twice to power the Gwinnett Braves (57-70) to a rain-shortened 5-1 victory over the Rochester Red Wings (70-58) on Saturday night at Coolray Field.

The game was called after the top of the seventh inning following a 1-hour, 15-minute rain delay. With the win, Gwinnett now leads the International League South Division by 1.5 games over both Charlotte and Norfolk (T-2nd, 56-72).

Ruiz took Red Wings’ starter Omar Bencomo deep into the Rochester bullpen down the right field line for a solo shot leading off the fourth and added three-run blast to right off Bencomo in the fifth. It was the first career multi-homer game for Ruiz, who now has nine home runs with the G-Braves this season.

With two out in the fifth, Reid Brignac and Brandon Snyder singled to set up Ruiz’s three-run blast and give him a season-high four RBIs.

Gwinnett also jumped on Bencomo for a run in the bottom of the first inning when Emilio Bonifacio led off with a triple and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to center by Snyder.

In his G-Braves’ debut, lefty Jed Bradley (W, 1-0) cruised through the Rochester lineup in his first outing at the Triple-A level since June 12, 2015 with Colorado Springs in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization.

Bradley yielded just one run, on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning, on five hits over 6.0 innings. He walked one and struck out nine while throwing 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes.

Bonifacio also tripled to begin the third, becoming the first G-Brave to collect two triples in a game sinceMallex Smith did so on August 17, 2015 at Toledo. He was the only other Gwinnett hitter with multiple hits on the night.

Bencomo (L, 1-1) yielded five runs on nine hits over 5.1 innings for Rochester and Adam Brett Walker collected his 67th RBI of the season, third-most in the IL.

The G-Braves and Red Wings continue the three-game series at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. Right-hander John Gant (3-3, 4.30) will start for the G-Braves against lefty Nick Greenwood (4-3, 3.30) for Rochester. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 1:35 p.m.

It’s the final “Sunday Funday” of the season, presented by Georgia United Credit Union. Fans are welcome to play catch on the field before the game from 1:10-1:30 and fans 12-and-under can run the bases following the game.

After fans have finished running the bases, the pilot episode of the upcoming Fox show “Pitch” will be played on the video board. Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

G-Braves, Knights Split Doubleheader

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – A pair of big innings by each side were the difference on Friday night as the Gwinnett Braves (56-70) and Charlotte Knights (56-71) split a doubleheader at Coolray Field. Gwinnett won game one 7-5 and Charlotte took game two by a 5-1 score.

After Friday’s games, Gwinnett remains in first place in the International League South Division, a half-game ahead of the Knights.

In the first game, Charlotte jumped on G-Braves’ starter Matt Wisler in the first inning. Leury Garcia and Jake Peter singled before Kevan Smith blasted a three-run home run to deep left-center, putting the Knights up 3-0 in a blink.

But Wisler settled down after that, holding the Knights to just three hits over the next five innings as his teammates got him off the hook. Gwinnett immediately answered Charlotte’s outburst with an even greater rally of its own in the bottom of the first.

The G-Braves batted around against Carson Fulmer (L, 0-1), collecting six runs on five hits. Brandon Snyder picked up an RBI single and Rio Ruiz laced a hard grounder off Fulmer’s leg to push across a second G-Braves’ run.

Three batters later, Blake Lalli dumped a two-run double down the left-field line, putting Gwinnett in front. With two outs, Braeden Schlehuber laced a two-run double down the left-field line to cap the frame.

As Wisler (W, 2-1) was shutting down the Knights, the game remained a 6-3 score until the bottom of the sixth when Emilio Bonifacio laid down a squeeze bunt to score Schlehuber from third.

In the seventh, Gwinnett nearly coughed up the lead, committing three errors to let Charlotte back into it. With two outs, Adam Engel singled and Eddy Alvarez reached on a fielding error by Lalli at first. Garcia followed with an RBI single to right that Kyle Kubitza bobbled, allowing Alvarez to race around from first and cut the lead to 7-5.

Peter hit a hard grounder to shortstop that Daniel Castro couldn’t corral for an error, putting runners at the corners with two out. But Wisler got Smith to bounce into a force out to end it.

Wisler recorded his second career complete game, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits over 7.0 innings while striking out four and walking none. He threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Bonifacio, Lalli, Schlehuber and Snyder each had two hits for the G-Braves, who had 11 in the game. Schlehuber’s two doubles matched his total over his first 28 games this season.

Garcia had three of Charlotte’s eight hits in the game and relievers Blake Smith and Matt Purke held Gwinnett to just one run on six hits over the final six innings, totaling seven strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Charlotte batted around against Aaron Blair (L, 4-4) in the second inning and went ahead for good on a grand slam by Engel. Blair walked Slade Heathcott and allowed singles to Vinny Rottino and Tony Campana before Engel scraped the brick wall beyond the left-field fence for his first Triple-A homer.

That was more than enough for lefty David Holmberg (W, 1-2) as he carved up the G-Braves for a complete-game win. He held Gwinnett hitless through the first four innings and yielded only one run on two hits in the game.

Mel Rojas Jr. led off the fifth with a triple down the right-field line and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lalli two batters later. Emerson Landoni doubled for Gwinnett’s other hit in the game.

Blair exited after the second inning and finished his night with five runs allowed on seven hits and two walks, having thrown 32 of his 60 pitches for strikes.

Garcia was 2-for-4 to finish the twin-bill 5-for-8 and Campana and Rottino each had two hits for Charlotte.

The G-Braves begin a three-game series against the Rochester Red Wings at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night at Coolray Field. Gwinnett’s starter has yet to be officially announced, while the Red Wings will start left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-2, 4.66). 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 Saturday will receive a bobblehead of G-Braves’ mascot Chopper, presented by Georgia Power. It’s also MiLB CommUNITY Day, as fans will be asked to rise together during an inning break to take a moment and reflect on ways to make a difference in communities and help others. 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.

Ellis Focused On Consistency With Gwinnett

The following story appears in the fifth edition of “Tomahawk Talk,” the official gameday publication of the Gwinnett Braves. Pick up a FREE copy at Coolray Field from August 12-September 3.

Chris Ellis opened the season by winning six of his first eight starts for Double-A Mississippi and earning the M-Braves’ Pitcher of the Month Award for April. After two more victories in three June starts, the right-hander was tabbed to start the Southern League All-Star Game at Mississippi’s Trustmark Park, a reward for an 8-2 record and a sterling 2.75 ERA.

But instead of toeing the rubber in the midsummer showcase, Ellis was promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 16, continuing his rapid ascent towards the Major Leagues.

“It would have been really cool to have pitched in that game,” Ellis said. “It was an honor to be named to that team and to be called on to start the game, considering how many good players there are in that league, but it was even better to get called up to Triple-A instead.”

Two days after the call-up, he started for Gwinnett at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and pitched about as long as he would have in the All-Star Game, though for a far different reason. He allowed five runs on five hits while walking two and hitting a batter in just two thirds of an inning.

“That first start was really rough, so a lot of the older guys on the team, (catcher) Blake Lalli especially, talked to me and settled me down after that start,” Ellis said. “I learned very quickly how much different Triple-A is than Double-A.”

Following his shaky Triple-A debut, Ellis said he’s starting to find some consistency after each start for the G-Braves, building from one day to the next as he continues to work his way towards the ultimate goal: pitching in the Majors.

“He belongs here, he was promoted here for a reason and so you just approach it that way,” Gwinnett pitching coach Mike Alvarez said. “That debut was tough, but those things do happen, even though you don’t want them to, but they do. It was something that he was going to have to overcome at some point, it just happened to be in the first outing.”

Through July 31, Ellis had made 22 starts combined between the two levels. He said he hasn’t had any physical setbacks or problems with his body, which has helped him reach the top level of Minor League Baseball in just his third professional season.

The former Ole Miss product saw his star rise during a stellar junior season in 2014, when he went 10-3 with a 2.55 ERA to help the Rebels reach the College World Series for the first time in 42 years. The Los Angeles Angels were impressed with his performance and selected Ellis with the 88th overall pick in the June draft.

In his lone full season in the Angels’ system last year, Ellis went 11-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 26 starts between Advanced-A Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas. He entered 2015 ranked as Los Angeles’ No. 5 prospect according to MLB.com and justified the ranking by leading the Angels’ system in wins and finishing fourth in strikeouts (132) and eighth in ERA.

But following the season, Ellis found himself packing his bags. He was traded to Atlanta along with left-handed pitching prospect Sean Newcomb and Major League shortstop Erick Aybar in exchange for shortstop Andrelton Simmons and minor league catcher Jose Briceno.

“It was weird because the Angels drafted me and a year later I get traded,” Ellis said. “It was one of those things where you finally get comfortable and then it’s like, ‘ok see you guys.’ At first I was nervous, like ‘who did I get traded to?’ and I find out it’s the Braves. It couldn’t have worked out any better for me. It’s a great organization and I’ve made a lot of friends already, so it has been a blessing.”

After joining the Braves, the team he said he rooted for while growing up in Alabama, Ellis was assigned to Double-A Mississippi to open the 2016 season. Playing at Trustmark Park in Pearl, MS allowed him to pitch less than three hours away from the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, MS.

“It was cool to be able to pitch in my ‘home’ ballpark with some Ole Miss fans in the stands,” he said. “It was a lot different compared to Arkansas and California where I was last year. I enjoyed having that feeling of being home in a way.”

Comfort is one thing, but command of your craft is something different altogether, and Ellis has worked to find consistency with his control this season. He walked 30 batters through his first 35.2 innings with Gwinnett after issuing only 35 free-passes in 78.2 innings at Mississippi.

“Until I can find that consistent command, I’m going to walk some guys. Right now, it is more about walking those guys in better situations, where it’s not going to hurt you nearly as much, or at all,” he said.

Alvarez, who joined the G-Braves as the club’s Pitching Coach on May 19, has seen Ellis improve over his short Triple-A career, but knows that the 23-year-old’s mental approach still has room for growth.

“He has taken some small steps since his first start for us, but they’ve been in the right direction. I still think he needs to find himself. He’s not quite there yet,” Alvarez said. “He shows you flashes of four Major League pitches and it’s just a matter of consistency. It starts with the fastball. He needs to know and be reminded that he’s a good pitcher.”

After entering the season ranked as the Braves’ No. 14 prospect by MLB.com, Ellis finds himself at No. 16 in the updated midseason rankings as Atlanta continues to acquire more young talent via trades, international signings and the June draft. Regardless of where he’s listed in the prospect rankings, Ellis knows not to let future projections overwhelm him.

“It’s always in the back of your head, knowing you’re a step up, so you put a little bit of pressure on yourself to do well,” he said. “I guess all I can do is go out there and pitch consistently well over a period of time and hopefully get a shot to be promoted, but you have to focus on where you are today and for your next start. You can’t be focusing on what lies ahead. That can be a recipe for disaster if you’re thinking ahead too much. I’m here in Gwinnett and I’m making the best of being here.”

Ellis produced his best start with the G-Braves to date on July 26 at Coolray Field, holding Indianapolis to just one hit over 5.0 innings and striking out seven in Gwinnett’s 11-2 win.

The solid outing was a step in the right direction for Ellis, who now looks to pitch deeper into games. At the Double-A level, he tossed six-or-more innings in 10 of 13 starts for the M-Braves.

Alvarez believes that if Ellis continues to put in the work, he’ll be still going strong in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

“He’s going in the right direction and I don’t foresee anything different the rest of the way. We’ll see that guy that can put together 7.0 innings consistently,” he said.

Louisville Spoils Teheran’s Rehab Outing

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Julio Teheran completed five innings and struck out five on a Major League rehab assignment, but took the loss as the Gwinnett Braves (54-67) fell to the Louisville Bats (60-63) 9-4 on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.

Teheran, pitching for the first time since being placed on the Atlanta Braves’ disabled list on July 31, set down the Bats in order over the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.

With one out, former G-Brave Jose Peraza hit a sharp ground ball that shortstop Daniel Castrocouldn’t corral for an error, and Hernan Iribarren followed with Louisville’s first hit. Seth Mejias-Brean then smacked a two-run double to right field, putting the Bats up 2-1.

Teheran (L, 0-1) allowed a leadoff single in the fifth, but induced a double-play grounder and notched his fifth strikeout to cap his afternoon at 73 pitches. The right-hander yielded three hits and two runs (one earned) without walking a batter and throwing 51 of his pitches for strikes.

Gwinnett took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Castro tallied an RBI groundout to score Kyle Kubitza from third.

But the G-Braves’ bullpen yielded seven runs over the final five innings as Louisville earned the series victory.

Daniel Wright (W, 5-5) finished the afternoon on the mound for the Bats with 6.0 innings of relief, holding the G-Braves to just one run on five hits. Wright also collected two hits in three at-bats, including a two-run single in the seventh. Alfredo Simon worked the game’s first 3.0 innings for Louisville, allowing a run on three hits while striking out two.

Mejias-Brean paced the Bats’ 15-hit attack with three hits and two RBIs and three others had two hits for Louisville. Jesse Winker has a pair of RBIs for the Bats.

Kubitza recorded an RBI double and scored for Gwinnett, while Emilio Bonifacio and George Kottaras picked up RBI singles in the ninth. Blake Lalli got the final three outs on the mound in his third pitching performance of the season.

The G-Braves hit the road for a quick three game road trip to BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, with game one against the Knights set for Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander John Gant (3-2, 3.61) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against righty Kameron Loe (1-3, 3.80) for Charlotte. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.

G-Braves Battle Back in 7-6 Win

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (54-66) scored twice in the seventh inning and three more times in the eighth inning to stun the Louisville Bats (59-63) 7-6 on Saturday night at Coolray Field.

The win, coupled with Durham’s 5-1 loss vs. Charlotte, moves the G-Braves a half-game ahead of the Bulls for first place in the International League South Division.

Down 6-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh, Gwinnett battled back against reliever A.J. Morris.Reid Brignac and Emilio Bonifacio reached on one-out singles, and with two outs, Tyler Flowers struck out swinging but reached on a wild pitch that rolled all the way to the backstop, allowing Brignac to score. Rio Ruiz followed with an RBI single to right, cutting the deficit to 6-4.

In the eighth, Matt Lipka singled to start the inning, and newest G-Brave Kyle Kubitza tripled into the left-field corner to bring Gwinnett within one. A single to center by Daniel Castro tied the game, and three batters later, Castro raced home when Louisville center fielder Beau Amaral dropped a line drive off Infante’s bat.

Shae Simmons (S, 1) polished off the win with a perfect ninth for his first save of the season, ending the G-Braves’ three-game losing skid.

Louisville had improved its lead against Stephen Janas and Chad Rogers in the seventh, scoring three unearned runs to go up 6-2. But Rogers (W, 3-4) worked around a pair of walks in the eighth to earn his first win with Gwinnett and third of the year.

The Bats got to G-Braves’ starter Matt Wisler for three runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings, working three walks against the right-hander. But Wisler threw 71 of his 105 pitches for strikes and struck out five in his third outing for Gwinnett.

Playing for just the second time since fracturing his left hand on July 10, Flowers went 2-for-4 and reached base three times in his second MLB rehab game for the Atlanta Braves. He was one of six G-Braves’ hitters with two hits in the game as the club recorded 15 in total.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in his fourth multi-hit effort over his last six games to lead the Gwinnett attack. Bonifacio, Castro, Lipka and Mel Rojas Jr. all had two hits for the G-Braves.

Amaral continued his hot hitting in the series, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored after collecting two hits and scoring four times in Louisville’s 9-8 victory on Friday. Bryson Smith and Ray Chang each had two RBIs for the Bats.

The G-Braves and Bats conclude the three-game series at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Julio Teheran (3-9, 2.81 in 21 starts for Atlanta) is scheduled to make a rehab start for the G-Braves against right-hander Alfredo Simon (0-1, 3.00) for Louisville. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 1:35 p.m.

It’s another “Sunday Funday” presented by Georgia United Credit Union. Fans are welcome to play catch on the field before the game from 1:10-1:30 and fans 12-and-under can run the bases following the game. Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.

Louisville Slips By Gwinnett in Marathon

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Jesse Winker ripped a two-out RBI single to push across the go-ahead run as the Louisville Bats (59-62) slipped by the Gwinnett Braves (53-66) 9-8 in 12 innings on Friday night at Coolray Field.

Former G-Brave Jose Peraza bunted Beau Amaral to second in the 12th against Carlos Portuondo (L, 1-1), and three batters later Winker picked up his only hit of the night to put Louisville ahead for the fifth time in the game.

Gwinnett threatened to tie the game for the second straight extra inning, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the frame. But Rio Ruiz grounded out to second, ending the 4-hour, 43-minute marathon, the longest game played by the G-Braves this season.

The G-Braves sent the contest to extra innings by mounting a two-out rally against Kevin Shackelford in the ninth, plating the tying run when Matt Lipka walked on four pitches to make it a 7-7 game.

Both squads scored in the 11th, with Blake Lalli tying the score with an RBI single after Chris Berset put the Bats ahead with a run-scoring single of his own in the top half.

Louisville led 2-0 before Gwinnett chased Bats’ starter Rookie Davis by collecting five straight hits to open the fifth, the last of which was a two-run single by Emilio Bonifacio which put the G-Braves up 3-2.

But the Bats struck right back for four runs in the top of the sixth against reliever Chad Rogers, going ahead 6-3. Seth Mejias-Brean capped that rally with an RBI single for Louisville.

Sean Kazmar Jr.‘s two-run homer started a three-run rally in the seventh to once again tie the game, this time at 6-6.

Gwinnett starter Chris Ellis allowed two runs on four hits over the first 5.0 innings, but walked five and threw only 52 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Mejias-Brean finished with a game-high three hits for Louisville and had a pair of RBI, while Amaral, Peraza and Hernan Iribarren each had two hits as part of a 16-hit attack for the Bats.

Kazmar Jr. homered and singled and was one of four G-Braves’ batters with two hits, while both he and Bonifacio tallied two RBIs. Bonifacio also stole his team-best 33rd base of the season.

The G-Braves and Bats continue the three-game series at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday night at Coolray Field. Righty Matt Wisler (1-1, 3.21) will pitch for the G-Braves against right-hander Robert Stephenson (6-9, 4.36) for Louisville. Dave Lezotte will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 5:35 p.m.

The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a bobblehead of former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Schuerholz, presented by Coolray Heating and Cooling. 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.