Posted: Thursday, May 1st 2014 at 11:42pm
Lehigh Valley records seven extra-base hits to beat Gwinnett
By staff reports
LAWRENCEVILLE -– The Gwinnett Braves (15-11) were greeted rudely by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (12-14) in the opener of an eight-game homestand on Thursday night at Coolray Field. The IronPigs pounded out 12 hits, including seven extra-base hits, to capture a 7-5 win.
Things got off to a rough start for Gwinnett as Lehigh Valley jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Clete Thomas singled to right-center off G-Braves starter Zach Stewart and scored on an RBI double by Reid Brignac.
Gwinnett tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Todd Cunningham laced a leadoff double off IronPigs starter Sean O’Sullivan and scored on a two-out RBI single by Christian Bethancourt.
In the top of the third, the IronPigs took control with four runs on six hits against Stewart. O’Sullivan led off with a single, moved to second on a single by Thomas and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Leandro Castro. With runners on second and third, the IronPigs connected for four straight hits. Maikel Franco hit a two-run double to open up a 3-1 lead, and Koyie Hill and Jim Murphy added RBI hits to extend the lead to 5-1.
The G-Braves clawed back in the fourth inning, scoring a run to make it 5-2. Cunningham started the inning with a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Edward Salcedo and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mark Hamilton.
After the IronPigs added a run in the fifth, the G-Braves kept it close with a two-run sixth. Back-to-back one-out singles by Joey Terdoslavich and Cunningham put runners on first and second, and Salcedo walked to load the bases. Hamilton delivered a two-run single, cutting the deficit to 6-4 and chasing O’Sullivan.
However, reliever Cesar Jimenez would retire the next two batters in order to preserve the lead for the IronPigs.
Franco continued his huge night at the plate as he smacked a long solo home run to left off reliever Ryan Buchter. His second blast of the season raised the Lehigh Valley lead to 7-4.
Gwinnett closed to within 7-5 in the eighth inning. Cunningham completed a four-hit night by doubling off reliever Justin De Fratus. He later scored on another two-out single by Bethancourt.
That would be as close as the G-Braves would get, as the Lehigh Valley bullpen held off the late attack. O’Sullivan (W, 1-2) recorded the win, tossing 5.1 innings with four runs on eight hits. Luis Garcia (S, 4) picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning. Jimenez (H, 2) and De Fratus (H, 2) both earned holds.
Stewart (L, 1-2) suffered the loss for Gwinnett as he was roughed up for six runs on 10 hits over 6.0 innings. Buchter, Mark Lamm and Juan Jaime combined to allow a run over the final 3.0 innings.
Cunningham finished 4-for-4 with two doubles, four runs and a stolen base. It was the second four-hit game of his career, the first since May 4, 2011 with Advanced-A Lynchburg. Tommy La Stella went 3-for-4 to extend his on-base streak to 20 games, and Terdoslavich went 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Hamilton recorded three RBIs on 1-for-3 hitting.
Franco led the IronPigs, going 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs and three RBIs.
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