Hot-hitting G-Braves blank Bulls

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett has been one of the hottest hitting teams in the International League the past week, and that trend continued Saturday night with 12 hits and five runs.

But the pitching also came through on Saturday as the G-Braves posted a 5-0 blanking over Durham, running Gwinnett's winning streak to six games in a row.

Picking up the win was left hander Yohan Flande, who went five scoreless innings with three hits, two walks and four strikeouts. The start by Flande was a continuation of his good work so far this year as the lefty, who was pitching in his fourth game, ran his scoreless inning streak to nine.

"He hasn't been that stretched out and has only thrown in a couple of outings since breaking spring training," Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. "He commanded his pitches well tonight."

Flande's pitch count ended at 82, with 48 being strikes.

With Durham's bats not being able to find an answer for Flande, the offense that has been so solid the past week kept that trend going in the first inning by jumping on starter Matt Torra for three runs.

First baseman Ernesto Mejia drove in Drew Sutton for the game's first run with a double to left, while third baseman Joey Terdoslavich drilled a two-run homer to right.

As it turned out, those runs would be more than enough for the G-Braves staff.

"The last five games, we've been swinging it really well," Brundage said. "We put it all together tonight and when you get that kind of pitching, you're giong to come away with some wins. The only blemish tonight was that we stranded too many runners."

Gwinnett, which had tallied 41 hits in the last four games, added a dozen more to that total on Saturday. Three of those came from catcher Jose Yepez (two singles, double, RBI), while Jordan Parraz and Mejia each added two.

The G-Braves had at least one hit in seven of eight innings, getting at least one hit from eight of the nine batters in the lineup.

That lineup produced another run in the fourth when Parraz smacked the first pitch he saw into Gwinnett's bullpen for his first round-tripper of the year.

Another run would be pushed across in the sixth. Josh Wilson reached base when he was hit by a Torra fastball and Yepez followed with a long double to center that just missed getting out of the park, driving home Wilson for the 5-0 lead.

Torra (1-1) would be lifted with two outs in the fifth, finishing with 11 hits and five runs (all earned) with one walk and two strikeouts in 5 innings.

Gwinnett reliever Dusty Hughes came into the game in the sixth and delivered two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one, while Cory Gearrin followed with two perfect innings to close things up.

Gearrin, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, struck out three Bulls along the way.

The win boosted Gwinnett's record to 7-3 and keeps the G-Braves on top of the South division two games ahead of Durham (5-5).