G-Braves, Flande gut out 6-4 win over Norfolk

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In the midst of a rough second inning in Tuesday night's game with the Norfolk Tides, it looked like nerves and high humidity started to get to Gwinnett Braves pitcher Yohan Flande.

But the 26-year-old left-hander kept his head, and the G-Braves followed suit, rallying for four runs in the bottom of the fourth -- two on a single by Felix Pie -- and allowing Flande and three relievers to gut out a 6-4 win before 1,864 fans at Coolray Field.

Flande (6-8) ran into trouble during the top of the second inning that included a trip to the mound by G-Braves manager Dave Brundage and the team trainer.

"He was probably a hitter or two away from maybe not getting to go five innings," Brundage said of Flande. "I wasn't sure if he was going to get it back. He came out in the third and had a five-pitch inning, and I think it actually helped him. He battled through five innings."

He continue to battle after Jamie Hoffman drove in one run with a sacrifice fly and Blake Davis another with a single, one of four hits in the frame, to give Norfolk a 2-0 lead.

The G-Braves answered in the bottom of the third when Pie lined a two-out double into the left-field corner.

Jose Constanza, showing no ill effects from a bruised knee that kept him out of the last four games when he was hit by a pitch last week, sped around from first to score and bring the G-Braves to within 2-1.

The game's turning point came after second baseman Rusty Ryal's diving stop of L.J. Hoes' grounder in the hole and Ernesto Mejia's scoop at first got the G-Braves out of a two-out, two-on jam in the top of the fourth.The G-Braves responded by sending nine men to the plate in the bottom of the inning and pounding out six hits, with Pie's two-out, two-run double being the big blow.

Terry Tiffee and J.C. Boscan also had an RBI hit each as the G-Braves plated four runs in the inning to jump in front at 5-2.

"Our focus is inning-by-inning and pitch-by-pitch," said Pie, who finished the game 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs. "That's what happened that inning after (Ryal's key defensive play). Four runs come in because everybody is focused and played the game pitch-by-pitch and inning by inning."

That was pretty much the way the G-Braves finished the game, too.

After Flande, who scattered seven hits and three earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts over five innings, left the game, lefty Dusty Hughes (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K) and right-handers Andy Russell (1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K) and Anthony Varvaro (1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) battled through the final four innings to keep Gwinnett in front.

Josh Kroeger added an RBI on a ground out in the fifth and Varvaro got the final three outs to record his fourth save of the season.