ALLENTOWN, PA. – The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, on the strength of four unearned runs, defeated the Gwinnett Stripers 5-1 Tuesday night in the first of a three-game series at Coca-Cola Park.
The IronPigs (31-30) plated four unearned runs in the top of the first off Gwinnett starting pitcher Bryse Wilson. An error by second baseman Andres Blanco on a ground ball opened the door for two-RBI singles later in the inning from Mitch Walding and Damek Tomscha.
The Lehigh Valley lead climbed to 5-0 in the bottom of the eighth as Walding (9) hit a solo homer to left off Stripers reliever Rafael De Paula. The only Gwinnett run came in the top of the ninth when Ryan LaMarre stroked a two-out RBI single to left, scoring Rafael Ortega. The Stripers (35-28) went on to load the bases in the half inning, but were unable to score again.
Wilson (L, 3-6) worked three innings with five hits, four unearned runs and seven strikeouts. Ben Rowen tossed four scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and three strikeouts. De Paula went one inning with one strikeout. At the plate, LaMarre was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
The Stripers have now lost three straight and fall to 2 1/2 games behind first-place Durham in the International League South. The game marked the second time in two starts in which Wilson had given up four unearned runs in a game, the other coming on May 31 at Indianapolis. Ortega was 1-for-4 to up his hitting streak to eight games.
Gwinnett plays again at Lehigh Valley at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Coca-Cola Park. Left-hander Kolby Allard (5-3, 4.15 ERA) will pitch for the Stripers against right-hander Drew Anderson (0-5, 6.32 ERA) of the IronPigs.