TOLEDO, OH – The Gwinnett Braves utilized a quality start from left-hander Daniel Rodriguez and solid bullpen work from Ryan Buchter and Juan Jaime in a 3-0 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Field.
Rodriguez (W, 3-2) went 7.0 innings and gave up only four singles and two walks while striking out three. Buchter (H, 3) worked a scoreless eighth inning with two walks and two strikeouts, and Jaime (S, 6) converted his sixth consecutive save opportunity with a scoreless bottom of the ninth.
Toledo starter Drew VerHagen (L, 0-3) nearly matched Rodriguez on the mound, but after six scoreless innings on a cool and breezy day, the G-Braves (14-9) finally scored in the top of the seventh.
Joey Terdoslavich led off the seventh inning with a single to right off VerHagen and was sacrificed to second by Todd Cunningham. Mark Hamilton then singled to left, putting runners at first and third. Edward Salcedo broke the scoreless tie with a single to left, scoring Terdoslavich for a 1-0 Gwinnett lead.
In the top of the eighth, now facing Toledo reliever Blaine Hardy, the G-Braves added more to their lead. Jose Constanza led off with a walk and moved to second on a single to left by Phil Gosselin. Tommy La Stella reached on a fielders’ choice that erased Gosselin at second and moved Constanza to third. Terdoslavich then drove a double off the wall in left to plate Constanza for a 2-0 lead. Cunningham was intentionally walked to load the bases in order to set up a double play, but Salcedo spoiled that strategy with a slow-rolling infield single to third, scoring La Stella for a 3-0 lead.
The Mud Hens (9-15) had men on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could not score against the Gwinnett bullpen. The G-Braves have now won 16 of 21 meetings all time at Fifth Third Field.
VerHagen pitched well, but suffered the loss in 7.0 innings of work. He gave up four hits and one earned run with one walk and five strikeouts. Hardy was touched for two runs and three hits in 1.0 inning of work. Mike Belfiore finished the game for the Mud Hens by pitching a scoreless top of the ninth with two walks and one strikeout.
Salcedo paced the G-Braves at the plate with a 2-for-3 day including two RBIs. Terdoslavich was 2-for-5 with a double and one RBI. Gosselin, Cunningham and Sean Kazmar each had one hit, and La Stella increased his on-base streak to 17 games when he was hit by a pitch from VerHagen in the top of the first.
For Toledo, Hessman was 2-for-3 with a double, the only extra-base hit of the day for the Mud Hens.
The Gwinnett Braves and Toledo Mud Hens will meet in Game 3 of the four-game series on Monday night at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Right-hander Mitch Atkins (1-2, 4.86) will start for the G-Braves, while the Mud Hens will counter with left-hander Robbie Ray (2-2, 1.93).