The Gwinnett Braves defeated the Norfolk Tides 14-8 Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field in a record setting slugfest. The G-Braves hit a franchise record six homeruns in a single game and the Tides added three of their own to set a new Coolray Field record of 9 combined homers in a single game. RF Stefan Gartrell also broke the single season RBI record of 87.
Even with the win, the G-Braves (74-61) lose ground to the Durham Bulls (77-57) in the International League South pennant chase. Durham won both ends of a double-header against the Charlotte Knights (64-72) at home and now hold a 3.5 game advantage on the G-Braves. The loss drops the Knights to 14 games back and in third place while the Tides (52-82) fall 25 games behind the Bulls.
The Tides started the scoring in the top of the 2nd inning after G-Braves starter Erik Cordier struck out the first two batters bringing Rhyne Hughes to the plate. Hughes hit his 13th homerun of the year and Cordier then walked the next two hitters bringing Carlos Rojas to bat. Rojas singled to right field scoring Tyler Henson but the inning was over when John Hester was thrown out at third by Wil Nieves after Stefan Gartrell had gotten the ball to home to force Hester back to third. The Tides carried a 2-0 lead into the 3rd inning and were down 6-2 heading to the 4th. Gwinnett plated six runs in the home half of the 3rd inning led by Brandon Hicks with his second grand slam of the year. Norfolk scored single runs in the 4th and 5th innings to cut the Gwinnett lead to two runs at 6-4. The G-Braves responded by pushing three more runs across when Gartrell homered after Ruben Gotay walked to start the inning and was followed two batters later by Mauro Gomez with his 21st homerun of the year. The Tides and G-Braves both scored a run in the 6th inning pushing the G-Braves lead to 10-5. Norfolk scored twice in the top of the 7th but Gwinnett came back with three more in the bottom of the inning to take a 13-7 lead to the 8th inning. Each team added another run to close out the scoring.
Final Score: Gwinnett Braves 14 Norfolk Tides 8
Erik Cordier (W, 5-8, 5.33 ERA) made his first start for Gwinnett since coming off the DL and struggled with his control. He worked 5.0 innings allowing 4 runs (earned) on 5 hits, issued 5 base-on-balls and surrendered a homerun; Dustin Richardson (ND) came on in the 6th inning and pitched one inning (he pitched to two batters in the 7th without recording an out) yielding 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits while not walking a batter and striking out 2;J.J. Hoover (ND) was the only pitcher for either team not to allow a run today when he pitched a scoreless 7th inning. He allowed 1 hit, walked 1 and struck out 2. Hoover has not given up a run in his last 8 appearances (10.2 IP) after allowing 7 earned runs in his first 5.0 innings pitched at the Triple-A level. He has struck out 27 batters in 15.2 IP with Gwinnett; Steven Shell (ND) worked the last two innings giving up one run (earned) on three hits, walked one while striking out two and allowed a homerun.
The G-Braves offense scored 14 runs on 13 hits and worked Tides pitching for 6 walks. 1B Mauro Gomez (.287, 21 HRs/74 RBI) had a huge day reaching base all five times he was up going 4-for-4 with a homerun, a double, 8 total bases, walked once, drove in 2 runs and scored 3 times; SS Brad Hicks (.260, 17 HRs/48 RBI) was 1-for-4 day with a grand slam; RF Stefan Gartrell (.261, 26 HRs/91 RBI) had a 2-for-5 day including his 26th homerun of the year, 4 runs-batted-in and scored twice. His 4 RBI day gives him 91 for the season breaking the previous G-Brave single season record of 87 RBI held by 1B Freddie Freeman. Wilkin Ramirez and Jeff Fiorentino each hit solo homeruns and Wilkin Castillo hit a two-run blast. 2B Ruben Gotay was 0-for-3 but walked three times and scored after each base-on-balls.
Gwinnett starts the final road trip of the season Monday in Durham, N.C. The G-Braves and Bulls will play a two game set that will play a big role in determining which club wins the IL South.Todd Redmond (9-6, 3.14 ERA) goes for the G-Braves while the Bulls will sendAlex Torres (9-6, 3.14 ERA) to the mound.
International League News:
The IL announced Louisville’s Juan Francisco and Norfolk pitcher Rick VandenHurk have been named the League’s Batter and Pitcher of the week for the week ending August 21st. Francisco hit .500 for the week with 2 doubles, 3 HRs and 10 RBI while VandenHurk was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 18 Ks in 12 IP.
Visit Pert Plus MiLB Stars to vote for the G-Braves duo of RHP Julio Teheran and LHP Mike Minor. Voting will determine which MiLB prospect fans believe will have the biggest Major League impact of 55 Triple-A prospects.
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