Posted: Wednesday, August 8th 2012 at 11:25pm
Tides play long ball, knock off G-Braves
LAWRENCEVILLE -– Home runs by Jamie Hoffmann, Bill Hall and Brandon Waring led the Norfolk Tides to a 9-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday night at Coolray Field. Josh Kroeger went 3-for-3 with an RBI for the G-Braves, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome an 8-0 deficit. With the loss, Gwinnett falls to 7.0 games behind Norfolk for second place in the International League South Division.
Four-straight Norfolk hitters reached base to start the game against Miguel Batista. L.J. Hoes led off the first with a double, and Xavier Avery reached on a bunt single back to Batista on the mound. His throw to first was dropped by covering second baseman Brian Friday for an error, allowing Hoes to race home for a 1-0 lead. RBI doubles by Ryan Adams and Ronny Paulino boosted the Tides’ lead to 3-0.
Norfolk crossed the plate three more times against a shaky Batista in the third inning. The Gwinnett right-hander retired the first two hitters in order, but walked Luis Exposito to keep the inning going. Waring followed with a double to center scoring Exposito, and Jamie Hoffman then blasted his second home run in as many nights, lifting a two-run shot to left. Hoffmann’s eighth homer of the year opened a 6-0 lead.
Batista (L, 1-1) lasted just 3.0 innings, surrendering six earned runs on six hits in his third start with Gwinnett. He walked one and struck out four, throwing 67 pitches, 41 for strikes.
The Tides added two more runs of insurance in the top of the fifth against Cole McCurry when Hall crushed a two-run homer off the batter’s eye in center. Hall’s 12th clout of the season made it 8-0, Norfolk.
After being blanked by spot starter Eric Beaulac over the first three innings, Gwinnett finally scored against reliever Zach Fowler in the bottom of the fifth. Kroeger singled, Friday walked and Luis Durango singled to load the bases. Josh Wilson’s sacrifice fly drove home Kroeger, and Felix Pie’s RBI single scored Friday as the G-Braves cut the deficit to 8-2.
Peter Moylan threw a scoreless seventh inning for the G-Braves, but Billy Bullock allowed one more run in the eighth as Waring launched a solo home run to center. Waring’s ninth homer of the year extended the lead to 9-2.
Gwinnett’s last gasp came in the eighth against reliever Pat Egan. Ernesto Mejia singled and Stefan Gartrell doubled, and a groundout by Terry Tiffee scored Mejia from third. Kroeger then laced a single to right, scoring Gartrell to make it 9-4. Egan allowed two runs over 2.1 innings and would be removed in the ninth for Pedro Viola. Viola induced a game-ending double play from Pie.
Fowler (W, 2-0) grabbed the win for the Tides as he worked 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on three hits.
Kroeger’s three-hit night led all hitters, while Durango added a 2-for-4 effort in the loss.
Norfolk collected nine runs on nine hits, with eight of those hits going for extra bases. Waring led the way, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Hoffmann and Hall also had two RBIs apiece.
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