LAWRENCEVILLE -- In a game nearly identical to the night before, the G-Braves rallied from an early deficit only to blow it all again.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first two innings, the G-Braves scrapped back with a five-run fourth to tie the game, before giving it all back in a 16-8 loss to the Durham Bulls. It was the second straight loss for the G-Braves to the division foe and second straight game where a 7-7 tie turned into a Bulls rout.
Gwinnett committed three errors, leading to five unearned runs, but the bats showed up strong. Four different players had at least two hits and Ruben Gotay, hitting ninth, and leadoff batter Luis Durango each had two RBIs. The 11 Gwinnett hits were four off the season high of 15.
Durham's shelling started early with four runs in the first inning kicked off by a lead-off homer by Rich Thompson. Lugo followed with three straight walks before finally recording two outs on one play when he doubled-up Leslie Anderson. A run scored on that play and Lugo then allowed three straight hits before leaving the game after just of an inning. The lead-off homer kicked off a huge game for Thompson, who went 4-for-6 with four runs scored and two RBIs. He only failed to reach base once, taking advantage of one of Gwinnett's errors in the sixth.
For Lugo, Wednesday was his shortest start of the season and tied for his shortest outing. He pitched of an inning of relief on April 19. This was the second straight start Lugo didn't make it through three innings.
Buddy Carlyle entered for Lugo and, after facing one batter in the first inning, allowed three runs of his own in the second. First, Henry Wrigley doubled in Thompson for his second run of the game and Anderson made up for his double play with a home run well over the right field wall to make it 7-0 after two innings.
Gwinnett finally got on the board in the second when Gotay singled in Josh Wilson, who was hit by a pitch. Gwinnett stranded three runners in the inning when rehabbing Jack Wilson popped out with the bases loaded. The G-Braves made it 7-2 in the third when Stefan Gartrell blasted his 15th home run of the season. Gartrell went 3-for-5 on the night with an RBI and two runs scored.
And then, suddenly, they came all the way back.
Terry Tiffee, the No. 7 batter, led the fourth off with a walk and the G-Braves then followed with three straight hits. Gotay knocked in his second run of the game and Luis Durango followed with a two-run bases-clearing triple, his fifth of the year. Jack Wilson cut the once seven-run deficit to one with a sacrifice fly to shallow left, but far enough to score the speedy Durango. Felix Pie came up with the G-Braves fourth hit of the inning and then scored on Ernesto Mejia's 27th double. He crossed the plate sliding and popped up with an exuberant clap as the 7-0 deficit became 7-7.
And then, suddenly, the G-Braves were way behind.
Jaye Chapman entered to pitch for Carlyle, who allowed three runs in 4 , and faced eight Bulls in the sixth leading to five runs, all with two outs. Chapman intentionally walked the bases loaded, then issued a second walk to push across the first run. Reid Brignac took Chapman's next pitch just over the left field wall for a grand slam and the 7-7 game was 12-7, Durham. The G-Braves committed two errors in the inning, the first by third baseman Tiffee to start the frame and the second by Durango when he carelessly tossed a base hit back to the infield and both Bulls runners advanced. Because of the errors, all five runs were unearned.
Gwinnett got one run in the sixth on Tiffee's second hit, scoring Gartrell, but the Bulls kept charging.
With Chapman still pitching, Durham added three in the seventh on a bases-loaded double by Henry Wrigley to make it 15-8.
After Corey Gearrin allowed one run in the eighth inning, manager Dave Brundage opted to use shortstop Josh Wilson in the ninth, the second time this season the position player pitched. He was the only G-Braves pitcher to not allow a run.
• What happened: In the second of the four game series, the G-Braves fell to south division rival Durham by a final of 16-8. For the second consecutive evening, Bulls Centerfielder Rich Thompson began the slugfest with a solo shot to give Durham an early 1-0 lead in the process of their four-run first inning. Gwinnett was again resilient storming back tallying 5-runs in the fourth inning to tie the score at seven. The Bulls bats proved again too much for the G-Braves as Gwinnett lost its seventh game in its last 10.
• From the stretch: More often than not, G-Braves and Bulls pitchers were throwing from the stretch as runners reached base in 8 of 9 frames.
• Swinging away: With 14 hits Wednesday, Durham has a combined 30 hits over the first two games of the series.
• Pivotal moment: Durham shortstop, Reid Brignac, hit a rope over the right field fence into his team's bullpen for a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning. This capped the Bulls five-run sixth.
• Beating up on Gwinnett: Bulls Centerfielder, Rich Thompson has seven hits over the first two games of the current series.
• Rehab watch: In his third game of a rehab assignment from Atlanta, designated hitter, Jack Wilson, went for 0-for-4 with an RBI on a sacrifice in the G-Braves five run fourth inning.
• Up next: The G-Braves continue their four-game series with the Bulls today at 7:05 p.m. Gwinnett sends righty Randall Delgado (0-1,10.80 ERA) to the hill to face Durham southpaw Cesar Ramos (3-2, 2.36).