Hughes struggles as G-Braves win streak ends at 5

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett fell behind and recovered twice Wednesday against Lehigh Valley, but the third time, the hole sank too deep.

The G-Braves twice trailed by one run, once after the first and again after the sixth, and both times erased the deficit, once taking a 2-1 lead.

But then came a three-run eighth inning given up by struggling reliever Dusty Hughes and Gwinnett went on to lose 6-3, ending a five-game winning streak.

Through May, Hughes has seen his ERA climb from 0.71 to 4.29. The lefty from Tupelo, Miss., has allowed at least a run in three of his past five starts, 4 innings, including Wednesday's three-run outing. It was just the second time this season he's allowed more than one run in an outing.

The late runs sullied a strong outing from Eric Junge, who rebounded from his most recent outing, a 1 inning start where he allowed five runs off seven hits. This time, the 35-year-old allowed just two earned runs over seven innings off six hits. He struck out four and walked two.

The IronPigs got their first lead in the first thanks in part to G-Braves mistakes. Kevin Frandsen singled with one out off of Junge and went to second when Josh Wilson's throw skipped past Ernesto Mejia at first base. He made it to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out passed ball by catcher Shawn McGill.

Gwinnett got the run back in the bottom half with a two-out RBI double by Ernesto Mejia to score Luis Durango. Durango scored from second after swiping his 23rd base of the season. The double was Mejia's 14th of the season and the RBI his 38th.

After the first-inning unearned run, Junge sat down nine straight batters and Gwinnett gave the starter a lead in the third. Felix Pie hit his third triple of the season to lead off the inning and Mejia made it 39 RBIs with a single to give the G-Braves a 2-1 lead.

Junge allowed his first earned run on a two-out home run by Domonic Brown in the sixth inning. The Redan graduate's homer was his first of the season and tied the game at 2-2. The IronPigs weren't done in the sixth. John Suomi and Cody Overbeck each doubled and the IronPigs eventually loaded the bases. But the Overbeck RBI was the only run Lehigh Valley could muster when Junge struck out Tug Hulett on a full count to end the inning and strand three runners. The home run allowed was the third given up all season by Junge.

Keeping the game tight, the G-Braves struck for one in the seventh on a two-out single by Mejia. The first baseman's infield single ended with an error by Lehigh Valley's shortstop Andres Blanco on the throw, letting Durango score his second run of the game to tie it 3-3.

But in the top of the eighth, the IronPigs broke through. John Suomi doubled, Overbeck walked and Steve Susdorf singled to score Suomi. A sac fly to center by Derrick Mitchell and an RBI double by Hulett put the game out of reach.

Gwinnett did load the bases in the eighth off back-to-back two out singles by Greg Paiml and Christian Marrero and a walk by Luis Durango. But Felix Pie, after a 10-pitch at-bat, popped up to end the threat.