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Posted: Friday, April 11th 2014 at 10:09pm

G-Braves fall in home opener

By staff reports
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LAWRENCEVILLE -– Durham left-hander Mike Montgomery stifled the Gwinnett Braves for the second time this season as he led the Bulls to a 5-1 victory in the G-Braves’ home opener at Coolray Field on Friday night.

Montgomery (W, 2-0) won his second straight contest against Gwinnett, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run baseball. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five. In two 2014 starts against the G-Braves, Montgomery has allowed one run on six hits in 10.0 innings of work while tallying 12 strikeouts.

“He is a good pitcher,” said G-Braves manager Brian Snitker about Montgomery. “He has off speed pitches and he can move his fastball around. He has secondary pitches that he can go to it to beat us. He keeps guys off balance and he is hard to hit. He did the same thing to us over there. We didn’t mount a whole lot against him in Durham either.”

The Bulls (6-3) got off to a great start, taking the lead in the top of the second inning. Jerry Sands drew a one-out walk from starter Daniel Rodriguez (L, 1-1) and scored on an RBI triple by Mikie Mahtook, giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead.

Gwinnett (4-4) answered in the bottom half of the frame. Back-to-back singles by Tommy La Stella and Phil Gosselin put runners on first and second with no outs. After a fly out by Edward Salcedo put runners on the corners, Christian Bethancourt drove in La Stella with an RBI groundout, tying it 1-1.

Durham regained the lead in the top of fifth. Ali Solis tripled to start the frame and scored on an RBI single by Ray Olmedo to the Bulls ahead, 2-1.

The Bulls put the game out of reach in the top of the eighth inning, scoring three runs on two hits. With two on and one out, Justin Christian laced a two-run triple to left-center field off reliever Ryan Buchter. Wilson Betemit drove in Christian with a sacrifice fly, pushing the lead to 5-1.

With a lead in hand, the Durham bullpen took care of the rest, hurling four scoreless frames to take their second straight game over Gwinnett. Jeff Beliveau went 2.0 innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. C.J. Riefenhauser tossed a scoreless eighth, while closer Kirby Yates dusted off the middle of the order in the ninth.

Despite taking the loss, Rodriguez pitched well. The left-hander worked 5.0 innings, scattering four hits, allowing two runs and striking out four.

Gosselin led the Gwinnett offense, going 3-for-4 with a double. His fourth straight multi-hit game raised his batting average to .542 on the season. Todd Cunningham and La Stella contributed with a hit each, while Bethancourt drove in the lone G-Braves run.

Christian paced the Durham offense as he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

The Gwinnett Braves and Durham Bulls will meet in game two of the series on Saturday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Right-hander Mitch Atkins (0-1, 6.75) will take the ball for Gwinnett, as he will face left-hander Erik Bedard (0-0, 2.25) of Durham. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call beginning at 6:50 PM on wdun.com, GwinnettBraves.com, TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch app.

The Opening Weekend festivities continue on Saturday night at 7:05 PM, as Atlanta Braves great and future MLB Hall of Famer Chipper Jones will be in attendance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will also receive a 2014 Gwinnett Braves Magnetic Schedule. To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com
Associated Categories: Sports News, Professional Sports

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