LAWRENCEVILLE – Drew Waters, William Contreras, Sean Kazmar Jr., and Yolmer Sanchez all hit solo home runs as the Gwinnett Stripers bested the Norfolk Tides 8-1 on Thursday night at Coolray Field.
Waters blasted a leadoff homer (6) on the first pitch thrown by former University of Georgia left-hander Kevin Smith (L, 1-3) to give Gwinnett (34-35) a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Stripers added three runs in the second inning on an RBI fielder’s choice by Waters and a two-out, two-run single by Cristian Pache to make it 4-0.
Kazmar finished 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the third and a solo homer (7) in the eighth. Contreras added a solo blast (5) in the fifth, and Sanchez capped the scoring with a solo shot (2) in the eighth. Travis Demeritte tallied two outfield assists from right field in the second inning, helping starter Jasseel De La Cruz get through four scoreless innings. Tanner Roark (W, 2-1) and three other relievers combined on five one-run innings.
Kazmar now has 649 hits with Gwinnett, passing Damon Hollins (648) for second all time on the Atlanta Braves Triple-A career hits list (since 1966). Contreras has five home runs and 15 RBIs in his first 11 games with Gwinnett, and is riding a nine-game hitting streak. The Stripers have hit 20 homers in their last nine games, going 8-1 in that span.
Gwinnett plays Norfolk again Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field (Wizards & Wands Night, join the Stripers for a celebration of the otherworldly stories we love. It is also Fireworks Friday with a fireworks display following the game). RHP Jose Rodriguez (0-2, 8.37 ERA) will start for the Stripers vs. RHP Mickey Jannis (0-3, 3.89 ERA) for the Tides.