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Ryal's fourth hit give G-Braves 10-inning win

LAWRENCEVILLE -- For Rusty Ryal to remember his last four-hit game, it wouldn't take too long.

The G-Braves third baseman strung together four hits on Sunday in the team's 13-10 win at Durham, part of Gwinnett's offensive explosion.

There was no offense explosion Thursday, but Ryal's bat heated up again, putting together four straight hits and a pair of RBIs including the game-winner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving Gwinnett a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Syracuse to open up the four-game home series.

"I have just been trying to keep my approach simple and see good pitches," Ryal said. "As far as this past month, I have just been trying to keep getting more comfortable."

Ryal smacked the first pitch he saw from Christian Garcia to shallow center field, scoring Lyle Overbay, who walked with one out to start the inning.

"With a guy that throws hard like that, you can't sit off-speed," Ryal said. "I was looking for a ball belt-high or higher. I saw the fastball."

Gwinnett didn't get a hit until the fifth inning and by then trailed 4-0. But for a team with only pride to play for, the pride was enough. It was just the ninth win of the year for Gwinnett when trailing after a seven innings.

"It was a hard-fought game," manager Dave Brundage said

On a strict pitch count for the remainder of the season, starter Sean Gilmartin didn't do himself any favors in the first inning Thursday. The lefty first-round pick threw 35 pitches in the first frame against Syracuse, loading the bases twice and facing all nine members of the Chiefs lineup. He allowed three runs in the first inning, stranding three with a strikeout of fellow pitcher Zach Duke. He walked two, struck out two and allowed three doubles in the inning.

Things got just slightly better in Gilmartin's second. He allowed another run, threw 15 more pitches and gave up his fourth double as Gwinnett fell behind 4-0.

From there, Gilmartin settled down. After the RBI double in the second, he retired seven of the next eight batters he faced, leaving after four innings. In order of innings, he threw 35, 15, seven and 14 pitches. Forty-three of his 71 pitches went for strikes.

"All of his first-inning balls were up in the zone and everything up in the zone got hit," Brundage said. "He got through four (innings). That's a credit to him."

Gwinnett broke up the shutout and Syracuse starter Zach Duke's no-hitter in the fifth when they led the inning off with three straight singles to load the bases. Brian Friday grounded out to score Jose Yepez to end the shutout, but Gwinnett didn't push across another run.

The G-Braves just needed time, and the bullpen provided it.

Buddy Carlyle, who followed Gilmartin on the mound, pitched three solid innings allowing just one hit and striking out five. He faced just nine batters after a double play ended the seventh inning. It was the first scoreless outing allowed by Carlyle since Aug. 6, four appearances ago.

Carlyle's night ended with Terry Tiffee pinch-hitting for the righty with two on and two out in the seventh. The pinch-hitter came through, ripping a double to left-center field, scoring two and pulling the G-Braves to within 4-3.

"That gave us some life," Brundage said.

Peter Moylan didn't allow a hit in his one inning of work, Anthony Varvaro allowed just two baserunners and stranded them and Cole McCurry pitched a perfect 10th inning to earn his first win.

"The bullpen did a great job tonight," Brundage said. "They gave us much-needed six scoreless innings. That hasn't been a ballgame that we've won of late."

The G-Brave completed the comeback in the bottom of the eight with a two-out single by Ryal. Ryal reached second on the throw home, but was caught off the bag. The play eventually ended the inning when Jose Yepez was tagged out at home after he and Ryal were in rundowns with the Chiefs' infielders. The extra-aggressive running left the game tied at 4-4, setting up the extra-inning affair, and allowing Ryal to play hero.

"That says something for the character of they guys," Ryal said of the comeback. "Winning is always fun."