The Gwinnett Braves and Charlotte Knights met for the final game in a home and home series in Fort Mill, SC Monday with the G-Braves coming out on the losing end, 3-2. The loss cuts the Gwinnett lead over the Knights to a half game in the International League South Division.
Eric Junge (L, 3-5), making his eleventh start for Gwinnett this season, held the Knights to one hit through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. With the clubs tied at 0-0 Jordan Danks started the home half of the inning by doubling to right and scored when the next batter, Josh Phegley, singled on a rope to center. Phegley advanced to second on a ground ball back to Junge off the bat of Jim Gallagher then moved to third when the Gwinnett hurler uncorked a wild pitch. After putting Justin Greene on base via a walk, Junge mishandled a sac bunt attempt that allowed Phegley to cross the plate while Greene ended up on second and Osvaldo Martinez was safe at first. Greg Golson stepped to the plate and singled to center to push Greene across the dish for the third and final run of the inning.
Junge steadied himself and held Charlotte scoreless over the next two innings. Adam Russell came on to pitch the eighth and held the Knights scoreless.
Charlotte starter Charles Shirek (W, 6-3) not only matched Junge’s effort, he surpassed it by also working 7.0 innings but held the G-Braves scoreless while scattering three hits. He struck out four. Leyson Septimo (H, 3) pitched a scoreless, hitless eighth for the home team before being lifted in favor of Brian Bruney (S, 9).
Gwinnett mounted a comeback effort against Bruney that began when Luis Durango started the inning with a single, and then Felix Pie doubled one batter later to put runners on the corners with one out. Ernesto Mejia, the team leader in a number of offensive categories, went down swinging to bring Christian Marrero to bat with two out and two on. Marrero singled to right scoring both Durango and Pie to cut the deficit to a single run. The comeback push was halted when Stefan Gartrell struck out swinging leaving the tying run at first.
Mejia went 2-for-4 with a double and was the only G-Brave with a multi-hit game. The double gives the big first baseman a team leading 15 for the year.
Phegley led the Charlotte eight-hit attack with a 2-for-3 night with one RBI.
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The first place Gwinnett Braves (33-25) head to Allentown, PA on Tuesday for their final four games of the regular season against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (31-26). G-Braves Right-hander Todd Redmond (5-3, 2.63) will make the start against the ‘Pigs right-hander Tyler Cloyd (4-1, 2.47) for a 7:05 PM scheduled first pitch from Coca-Cola Park. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.
Lehigh Valley’s John Suomi hammered Gwinnett pitching last week and today was named the IL Batter of the Week.
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