LAWRENCEVILLE — Thursday night was yet another slugfest at Coolray field as the G-Braves turned the tables on the previously hit-happy Durham Bulls in an 8-1 rout.
“It was a good ballgame all around, G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said, “Good pitching, good defense, good timely hitting. That pretty much sums up everything along the way. We played a good game of baseball. The last couple of nights we haven’t played good baseball and tonight we got a good game all the way around."
For the third consecutive game, Durham began the scoring with a Henry Wrigley solo home run in the fourth inning. The first baseman’s 10th home run just climbed over the left field fence beyond the reach of Gwinnett’s Stefan Gartrell.
The G-Braves came right back in their half of the fourth as third baseman Terry Tiffee belted his first dinger of the season clearing the retaining wall past the left field fence to knot the score at 1-1.
Delgado returned in the fifth, posting another goose egg, forcing three straight fly outs after Bulls third baseman Will Rhymes reached on a leadoff single.
In the home half of the fifth, Gwinnett catcher, J.C. Boscan led off with a scorching double to deep center field. After a Luis Durango sacrifice bunt moved Boscan to third with one out, designated hitter Jack Wilson sent a sharp single to left, bringing Boscan home to give the G-Braves a 2-1 advantage and the lead for good.
After sandwiching a walk and single between his fourth and fifth strikeouts, Delgado left after 5 2/3 innings after giving up just the fourth inning home run. That gave way to right handed reliever, Cole McCurry came out of the bullpen providing an inning and a third of hitless relief with a strike out.
“We needed somebody to step up and get us into the sixth,” Brundage said. Randall had some good pitches. He wasn’t on top of his game, but he competed very well. He competed with guys on base and made pitches when he had too. Obviously you’re facing a good offensive team there as shown by the last couple of nights. To hold them one run tonight, outstanding job.”
In Gwinnett’s sixth frame, the G-Braves unloaded for four runs sending eight batters to the plate.
Gartrell started the fireworks with his second single of the ball game, followed by his eighth steal of the year.
“He started to swing the bat, Brundage said. “I know we’ve gone up and down with Gartrell. I think he’s starting to get it and understand the peaks and valleys; the more consistent at-bats. He’s done that this last week and he’s swung the bat and hopefully he’s starting to realize that he’s a good hitter.”
After Josh Wilson and Tiffeee had back-to-back pop outs, second baseman Rueben Gotay was intentionally walked before Boscan drew his own free pass to load the bases for Durango. The center fielder smacked a single to his Durham counterpart, scoring Gartrell and Gotay.
Wilson added a two-run double to his pair of singles of the evening as Boscan and Durango crossed home.
For the first time in their current four game series the G-Braves held a lead after the sixth inning.
“I was just trying make sure I got on base and not strike out and start something, Gartrell said about the start of the sixth inning. “Brundy had a hit-and-run on, it was a slider outside actually so it worked out. We like to try to make them make mistakes and play fast so it actually worked out to our advantage right there.”
Gwinnett added two insurance runs in the seventh extending its lead to seven. The bullpen tandem of Anthony Vavaro and Andrew Russell pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
“It was a great job by the bullpen, Brundage said. “It’s amazing how well they can pitch when they’re not having to get so stretched out. It’s amazing when you don’t have to stretch them out and squeeze another inning out of them, good things are going to happen.”
The win marks Gwinnett’s 48th on the season and was the first game of the series where the defense was errorless.
“We have very talented pitching and we have hitting,” Gartrell said. “When our defense helps out our pitching and our pitching trusts that we’re going to make plays for them the sky is the limit for our team. Today’s one of those days where we showed it off. We made great plays in the outfield and great plays in the infield.
"We didn’t give anything away today. We didn’t give them second chances, third chances like we did yesterday. That’s was a thing that put the nail in the coffin for them today because they’re a good-hitting team as we’ve seen the past two days. We kinda just said, 'Today you guys aren’t scoring.’ It was good to see that no matter what for us we’re still going to be able to score some runs."