G-Braves out-slug Tides in marathon 10-8 win

LAWRENCEVILLE — An offensive explosion covered shaky pitching Wendesday night.

Gwinnett racked up 11 hits, getting at least one from every batter but All-Star Ernesto Mejia to hold off Norfolk for a 10-8 win.

What started off as Gwinnett domination, ended up a see-saw affair and the final slugs went to the G-Braves.

Alden Carrithers, coming off a three-hit night on Tuesday, started the G-Braves scoring. With the bases loaded and two outs, a spot where the G-Braves hit .266 as a team, Carrithers lifted a double down the left field line scoring Jose Constanza and Todd Cunningham.

Gwinnett added three more runs in the second on three-straight RBIs from the top three hitters, Constanza, Cunningham and Brandon Boggs upping the G-Braves lead to 5-0.

It didn't last.

After stranding five runners in his first two scoreless innings, the struggles of Cody Martin caught up to the right hander in the third but not as bad as it could have been. The first four batters reached base in the inning with Danny Valencia knocking in Henry Urrutia on an RBI double. Martin walked Zelous Wheeler with the bases loaded for the second run. Then, the defense backed the young pitcher up. Chris Snyder popped out to shallow right field and Cunningham gunned down the tagging Alex Liddi at the plate for an inning ending double play, maintaining a 5-2 Gwinnett lead.

The modest luck ended in the fourth. Martin allowed the first three batters of the inning to reach base and even with the help of a caught stealing for the first out, gave up a three-run blast by Liddi tying the game at 5-5. It was Liddi's first Class AAA homer in just his third game.

Martin exited after walking the next batter, pitching just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs off of eight hits. He walked six, hit a batter and struck out three. Matt Pagnozzi threw out his second base stealer of the inning for the third out.

Then, the back-and-forth started.

Gwinnett reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth, chasing Tides starter Eddy Gamboa. Stefan Gartrell took a pitch off his back to start the inning and Carrithers advanced him to second when he nearly reached first safely on a sac bunt. Phil Gosselin knocked in Gartrell with a bloop to shallow centerfield, giving the G-Braves a 6-5 lead.

It didn't last long.

Liddi tripled to drive in two runs in the next half inning and the lead went back to Norfolk at 7-6.

And the G-Braves came right back with RBIs from Carrithers, his third of the game, and Gartrell to climb back on top 8-7.

Norfolk knotted the game at 8-8 in the top of the seventh, with a RBI single by Urrutia. The hit was the fifth single of the game for Urrutia, all singles.

The runs kept coming with the G-Braves scoring two in the bottom of the seventh on throwing error on a Constanza bunt single and a sac fly by Brandon Boggs and the G-Braves led 10-8.

Reliever Mark Lamm retired the Norfolk side in his second inning of work for the first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the eighth.

Cory Rasmus picked up his 10th save of the season allowing one hit and striking out two in the ninth.