G-Braves Gilmartin out-duels Parkview's Gustafson for first AAA win

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The face-off between the No. 1 draft pick and the Parkview graduate turned into a bit of a duel.

Tim Gustafson, once a G-Braves pitcher, went six innings, allowed four runs, three earned, struck out six and walked one. A nice line.

Sean Gilmartin did it better.

The Braves No. 1 draft pick out of Florida State pitched 6 , allowed two runs off seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts and left the G-Braves up 4-2. Gwinnett relievers shut the door as the bats piled on more runs as the G-Braves rolled 8-2 to give Gilmartin his first Class AAA win in his third start.

"I definitely felt good," Gilmartin said. "Anytime you can go six-plus and give your team a chance to win."

In Class AA, Gilmartin was 5-8 with a .354 ERA. Since his move up, he's 1-1 and his ERA is identical.

"You don't really know what to expect," he said of facing Class AAA hitters. "You have to get that experience. Guys are older, more experienced. You have to be more aware of what goes on."

Gwinnett got on the board in the first without getting a hit. Luis Durango walked to start the game, stole his 41st base and advanced to third on a Felix Pie groundout.

Then things got weird.

Ernesto Mejia struck out swinging, but veteran and former Atlanta Braves catcher Corky Miller dropped the pitch and then first baseman Neftali Soto missed the throw and the ball skipped into the outfield allowing Durango and score and Mejia ended up on second.

Louisville answered in the third, when Miller walked and later scored on an RBI single by Denis Phipps. Gustafson laid down the sacrifice to move the 254-pound catcher to second.

In the fourth, Gartrell got started. The outfielder blasted a two-run homer to center to follow Ernesto Mejia's lead-off double. Two innings later it was a double off Gartrell's bat to score Pie and give the G-Braves a 4-1 lead. Gartrell ended the game 2-for-3 with a home run, double, two runs scored and three RBIs. He had just three RBIs in his previous 10 games. He last knocked in three runs on July 24 against Durham.

"I've been feeling pretty good lately," Gartrell said. "I've been hitting the ball hard, there has either been no one on base or been right at someone."

Miller continued his dominance of Gilmartin with a solo home run in the seventh. The catcher ended the game 2-for-3, and went 2-for-2 with a walk, home run and two runs scored against Gilmartin.

"He saw the ball pretty well, I guess," Gilmartin said. "I got behind him all three times. He's a veteran guy."

Gwinnett got the run back in the bottom of the seventh when Josh Wilson opened the inning by reaching third on an error by right fielder Felix Perez and scored on a sacrifice by Terry Tiffee. The unearned run came off Louisville reliever Travis Webb who replaced Gustafson after the sixth.

Cole McCurry entered for Gilmartin and turned in a solid 1 scoreless innings. The lefty allowed one hit and struck out a batter.

Gwinnett piled on its final three runs in the eighth with a pinch hit three-run homer by Josh Kroeger to make it 8-2. The homer was the 10th on the season for Kroeger, but first since joining the G-Braves.

Andy Russell pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win.G-Braves 8, Bats 2What happened: Sean Gilmartin allowed two runs off seven hits over 6 innings to win his first Class AAA game in his third start. The lefty out-dueled for Gwinnett Braves and Parkview pitcher Tim Gustafson, who allowed four runs, three earned, off of five hits over six innings. Both pitchers allowed a home run. Stefan Gartrell went 2-for-3, with a home run, a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Josh Kroeger added three more runs with a pinch-hit home run in the eighth. Reliever Cole McCurry pitched a scoreless 1 of relief and Andy Russell walked one in a scoreless ninth.

Big production: After knocking in three runs over his last 10 games, Stefan Gartrell equaled the feat with a three RBIs on Saturday, including a two-run home run. It was his first home run since July 30.

One swing to rule them all: Josh Kroegers's three-run pinch hit home run was one more than the G-Braves pinch hitters had managed all season. Until the homer, Gwinnett pinch hitters were 11 of 48 with two RBIs.

Web gem: Ruben Gotay snagged a foul ball with a backhanded grab along the third baseline reaching over and into the camera well just as the ball shot down.

Cork'd: In Gilmartin's good start, veteran catcher Corky Miller got the best of him. Miller scored the two runs he allowed and went 2-for-2 with a walk and home run against Gilmartin.

Up next: Former G-Braves pitcher Todd Redmond (8-8, 3.36 ERA) starts for Louisville against Braves rehabbing pitcher Tommy Hanson today at 5 p.m.