LAWRENCEVILLE – After giving up 15 runs on 31 hits in the first two games of the series, the Gwinnett Braves’ pitching staff held the potent Lehigh Valley IronPigs to three runs on seven hits on Sunday at Coolray Field. Unfortunately, that offense was enough as the G-Braves suffered their third straight loss to the IronPigs, 3-1.
Gwinnett starter David Hale (L, 6-7) was solid, hurling 6.0 innings with three runs, two earned on seven hits. His ninth quality start was still his second straight loss, however, as the G-Braves’ offense backed him with just one run against four different IronPigs’ pitchers.
Despite the loss, Gwinnett (51-72) got off to a solid start, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. Brandon Boggs laced a leadoff double to left field, moved to third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Nunez, giving the G-Braves a 1-0 lead.
The IronPigs (63-60) erased the deficit in the top half of the next inning, scoring two runs to take the lead. Tyson Gillies doubled to start the inning, moved to third on sacrifice bunt by pitcher Adam Morgan and scored on an RBI single by Pete Orr. Orr advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Hale and scored on a sacrifice fly by Freddy Galvis, making it 2-1.
Lehigh Valley extended the lead to 3-1 in the sixth. Steve Susdorf and Josh Fields hit back-to-back singles, and after a double play erased Fields, Susdorf scored on an RBI single by Leandro Castro.
The two-run lead would be more than enough for the IronPigs, as Morgan, J.C Ramirez, Mauricio Robles and B.J. Rosenberg combined to throw 9.0 innings of five hit baseball. Morgan started and went 3.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits. Ramirez (W, 3-2) picked up the win in relief, tossing 2.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Rosenberg (S, 2) earned the save as he tossed a perfect ninth inning.
After a fourth inning leadoff double by Matt Pagnozzi, the G-Braves’ offense was held hitless the rest of the way. Jose Constanza went 1-for-4 to extend his Triple-A hitting streak to 10 games, and Phil Gosselin went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to five games. Boggs, Pagnozzi and Hale had the other Gwinnett hits.
Orr led Lehigh Valley as he went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
The Gwinnett Braves and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs finish the four-game series on Monday afternoon at 12:05 PM. Right-hander Omar Poveda (5-7, 3.33) will pitch for the G-Braves and will match up against left-hander Tom Cochran (3-7, 5.88) of the IronPigs.