Early hole dooms G-Braves in Sunday loss at Durham

DURHAM, N.C. — The Durham Bulls erupted for six runs in the first two innings off of Gwinnett starting pitcher Eric Junge and never looked back, beating the G-Braves 7-4 in the finale of the four-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Sunday.

The Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first against Junge, but in the top of the second, Gwinnett designated hitter Ernesto Mejia answered with a solo homer to center to tie the game at 1-1. It was the first AAA homer of Mejia’s career.

In the bottom of the second, the Bulls sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs for a lead they would never lose. Durham added a run in the bottom of the sixth as shortstop Shawn O’Malley hit a solo homer off of G-Braves left-handed reliever Jose Lugo. The blast gave the Bulls 7-1 lead.

The G-Braves made a run in the top of the seventh as first baseman Christian Marrero hit a two-run homer to right, scoring third baseman Joey Terdoslavich. Marrero finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs on the night.

Gwinnett added one more in the top of the ninth on three consecutive doubles by Terdoslavich, Marrero and Josh Wilson, but right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa came in from the bullpen to end the threat.

Junge (0-1) finished with six earned runs over five innings in his Gwinnett debut. Bulls right-hander Chris Archer (1-0) picked up the win with one run on two hits over six innings.

The G-Braves begin a three-game series Monday night in Norfolk, Va., against the Tides, the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Taking the mound in Game 1 for Gwinnett will be left-hander Yohan Flande. The Tides will pitch right-hander Jason Berken.

The team plays its home opener Thursday against Durham.