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G-Braves rained out in meaningless game after Lehigh Valley clinches wild card

Photo: David McGregor  Gwinnett's Stefan Gartrell walks back to the dugout after striking out in the first inning of the G-Braves rain shortened final home game of the season on Monday.

Photo: David McGregor Gwinnett's Stefan Gartrell walks back to the dugout after striking out in the first inning of the G-Braves rain shortened final home game of the season on Monday.

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Photo: David McGregor Charlotte's Justin Greene (2) steals second base under Gwinnett's Brandon Hicks during the G-Braves final game of the year on Monday afternoon.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Just as the staff at Coolray Field pulled the tarp off to begin preparations for the Gwinnett Braves' final regular season game, Lehigh Valley, 942 miles away, began to pull away from Syracuse.

The IronPigs eventual 4-1 rain-shortened win, put an end to the slim playoff chances the G-Braves held entering Monday's daytime finale. Even before the first pitch, the postseason hope had evaporated with rain halting play in Syracuse.

When the rain came, the grounds crew in Syracuse didn't cover the field, allowing the rain to soak the infield and reports from the stadium where the lights were immediately turned off.

Gwinnett played three innings and two outs in the top of the fourth before the rain returned and officially cancelled the then-meaningless game.

The G-Braves trailed 2-1 in the unfinished game and finished with a 78-65 record, the second straight year they completed the season a game short of the scheduled 144 for Class AAA.

The game ended at 5:19, lasting just one hour and 15 minutes. The pregame delay of 1:59 was longer. Gwinnett missed the playoffs by one and a half games.

Gwinnett scored its final run of the season in the bottom of the second when Matt Young, a professional to the end, hit a pop fly to left field with two outs and Charlotte's Justin Greene dropped his one-handed attempt at the ball. Jeff Fiorentino hustled in from second to score the game's first run.

In the top of the third, Charlotte took the lead on one swing. After a two-out single by Jim Gallagher, Dallas McPherson took starter Erik Cordier to deep center field for what would have been his 21st home run of the season but the cancelled game erased that.

In Cordier's final start, the right-hander pitched 3 innings, allowing two runs off three hits with four strikeouts and six walks. Charlotte starter and Georgia native Deunte Heath pitched all three innings, allowing no earned runs and striking out seven.

Young, Ruben Gotay and Will Nieves picked up the G-Braves' three hits.

Even missing the postseason couldn't temper the solid season had by many of the G-Braves. Jairo Asencio led the IL with 26 saves, Julio Teheran had a league-best 15 wins and Stefan Gartrell led the league with 94 home runs. Gartrell and Teheran each made the post-season All-Star roster and Teheran picked up pitcher and rookie of the year honors. Todd Redmond led the league in innings pitched and was the last G-Braves player on the field, capping the season with a tarp slide clad in his camo shirt.