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Gnats Hang On For Third Straight08/23/2009 5:14 PM ET
By Mike / Savannah Sand Gnats
ROME, Ga. - A late surge by the Rome Braves was not enough in Sunday afternoon's contest as the Sand Gnats hung on for a, 5-4, win over the Braves at State Mutual Stadium. Savannah's three-run seventh inning proved to be the difference maker in the win, which is the 60th of the year for the ball club.
The Gnats never trailed in the game, scoring two runs in the top of the third inning with an RBI groundout by Josh Satin and a two-out RBI single by Eric Campbell. In the seventh, the Gnats sent seven men to the plate with a two-run hit by Raul Reyes capping the inning. Nick Giarraputo followed with his second hit of the game and drove in Campbell from third to give Savannah a 5-0 lead.
Staring pitcher Kyle Allen (8-6) allowed just two hits over six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Adam Milligan started the inning with a single before back-to-back doubles by Rome's Samuel Sime and Chais Fuller pulled the Braves within three. After a Jefry Marte throwing error put Braeden Schlehuber on at first, Calvin Culver cleared the bases with a double and the lead for Savannah was reduced to one.
The seventh marked the end of the game for Allen who permitted the four runs (three earned) in six plus innings of work. Mike Lynn was called upon with Culver on second base and retired the next three batters to get out of the inning with the one-run lead in tact.
Rhiner Cruz secured his 22nd save of the season with a perfect ninth and the strikeout of Culver to end the game. His 22 saves tie him for the league lead with Asheville's Adam Jorgenson and Lake County's Steve Smith.
Savannah had exactly 10 hits and has now recorded three consecutive double-digit hit games in a row after not having one since July 28 in Greensboro. Marte finished the game 3-for-5 while Giarraputo once again added two this.
The Gnats (25-27, 60-62), winners of three straight, will try for the series sweep of Rome tomorrow at 7 p.m. First-round pick Mike Minor (0-0, 0.00) will start for Rome while the Gnats have yet to announce a starter.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.