G-Braves rides torrid start past Bats

LAWRENCEVILLE — A rainy start gave the Gwinnett Braves bats some extra time to heat up.

The G-Braves banged out a season-best 18 hits in an offensive explosion, beating the Bats 11-5 in a game that started 56 minutes late after a late afternoon shower dropped on Coolray Field beginning about 30 minutes before the first pitch. The win was the first series win for the G-Braves since July 6-8 against Durham.

Luis Durango and Terry Tiffee tied season highs with four hits apiece. Durango was a perfect 4-for-4 with two walks and a pair of runs scored and Tiffee scored two and drove in a pair going 4-for-5 with a double. Louisville's Henry Rodriguez also had four hits, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

And before the bats got going, the game started with a good sign for starting pitcher Randall Delgado.

The right-hander escaped a heap of trouble in the first inning. He allowed a leadoff single and then a one-out double that hit hard enough off the right field wall that the lead runner did not score. He then walked Neftali Soto to load the bases for catcher Dioner Navarro. But the catcher, who was playing in the big leagues last week, grounded into his fifth double play leaving Delgado and the G-Braves unscathed.

The bottom half worked out the opposite for Louisville starter Pedro Villarreal. He walked Durango to open the inning but the speedy Durango scored on Ernesto Mejia's 30th double. Stefan Gartrell reached on a errant throw by Bats third baseman Henry Rodriguez and Terry Tiffee loaded the bases with a single. The next batter, catcher Jose Yepez, cleared the bases with his first triple of the year and the G-Braves led 4-0. Yepez ended the night with three hits a run scored and a team-high three RBIs.

Delgado allowed a pair of doubles and a run in the second inning. Felix Perez scored on a ground out by Chris Valaika after he advanced to third on a wild pitch.

But the G-Braves finished off Villarreal in the second, scoring five more runs off the Bats starter. Villarreal left with the bases loaded and one out after facing 17 batters in two innings. Tiffee doubled in a pair of runs and Rusty Ryal, Gartrell and Durango plated one apiece to make it 9-1.

In the first two innings the G-Braves sent 19 batters to the plate and all but Delgado reached base at least once.

And the runs kept coming. Louisville scored two in top of the third and in the bottom half, Gartrell plated two for Gwinnett with his 19th homer of the season to straightaway center field to make it 11-3 after three innings.

From there, the G-Braves kept hitting, but instead of scoring began stranding. Gwinnett left 11 of its 15 runners on base over the final five innings, leaving at least two on in each frame.

Delgado allowed one more run, ending the night after pitching five innings and allowing four runs off eighth hits. He struck out three and walked three. Miguel Batista pitched the next three innings, allowing just a solo home run and two hits.

Ryan Buchter pitched the ninth and struggled again, recording just two outs before leaving for Anthony Varvaro. Buchter gave up two runs off two hits with two walks. Varvaro faced one batter to earn his sixth save and second in as many days.

G-Braves 11, Bats 7

What happened: Gwinnett scored nine runs in the first two innings, sending 19 batters to the plate in the first two innings and chasing Louisville starter Pedro Villarreal after 1 1/3 innings. Only starting pitcher Randall Delgado didn't reach base in the scoring frenzy and five different G-Braves scored. Delgado wasn't great, but his five innings of four-run baseball were more than enough with the early scoring. Delgado allowed the runs off eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Miguel Batista allowed one run over the next three innings off two hits, allowing a solo home run. Luis Durango and Terry Tiffee each had four-hit games, Josh Kroeger went 3-for-4Stefan Gartrell hit his 19th home run and Ernesto Mejia scored twice and drove in a pair with his 30th double.

Hittin' it: Gwinnett set a new season high in hits Monday with 18. The previous high was 15, done four time this season.

Four-for-two: Both Luis Durango and Terry Tiffee tied G-Braves' season highs with four hits apiece Monday. Durango finished the game a perfect 4-for-4 with two walks and Tiffee's fourth hit came on a shallow pop up to right that landed between the second baseman and right fielder.

Up next: The G-Braves hit the road for a series with Nofolk. RHP Julio Teheran (6-7, 5.35) faces off against RHP Steve Johnson (4-8, 2.86) today at 7:15 p.m.