LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. - The Gwinnett Braves remained perfect at home Friday Night as they dismantled the Durham Bulls, 12-7, in front of 6,133 fans at Coolray Field. Christian Marrero went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI and right-hander Eric Junge earned the victory with five solid innings as the G-Braves won their fifth-straight game to move into first place in the International League South Division.
It was anything but a pitcher's duel as the two teams combined for 22 hits and 19 runs. The G-Braves erased an early 2-0 deficit with a three-run second inning, then never looked back after plating six runs in the third. Marrero and J.C. Boscan each drove in three runs apiece, while Luis Durango and Drew Sutton chipped in with two RBI each.
Junge (W, 1-1) got off to a rough start against the Bulls, allowing four consecutive hits leading to two runs in the second inning. Jesus Feliciano doubled home Leslie Anderson and Juan Miranda to open up a 2-0 Durham lead. However, Junge limited the damage, leaving two runners stranded on base in the inning. The G-Braves' right-hander would allow three more runs over his five innings of work, all of which were unearned.
In the bottom of the second, Gwinnett answered back with three runs off Bulls' right-hander Chris Archer to take the lead. Joey Terdoslavich started the rally with a one-out single. Following a Marrero walk, manager Dave Brundage called for the perfectly executed double steal to move both base runners into scoring position. Jordan Parraz then walked to load the bases, and Josh Wilson worked a four-pitch walk of his own, enabling Terdoslavich to score. Parraz and Wilson both came around as a result of a Boscan fielder's choice and a throwing error by Bulls second baseman Shawn O'Malley, putting the G-Braves ahead, 3-2.
Gwinnett broke the game wide open against Archer with a six-run third inning. Following Jose Constanza's third triple in his last three games, the next five consecutive G-Braves hitters reached base and scored during the onslaught. Sutton, Marrero, Boscan and Durango all drove in runs in the inning, helping chase Archer after just 2.2 frames. Archer (L, 1-1) was tagged for nine earned runs on five hits and six walks.
Marrero added to the lead with an RBI double in the fourth, and Boscan recorded his first double to drive in another insurance run in the fifth. Sutton's sacrifice fly in the fifth raised the Gwinnett lead to 12-5.
G-Braves' right-hander Buddy Carlyle worked three scoreless innings following the departure of Junge. Carlyle allowed just one hit and no walks while striking out four. Right-hander Jason Rice yielded a two-run double to Matt Mangini in the ninth inning as the Bulls cut the lead to 12-7, but Rice stranded runners at first and third as he closed a non-save ninth.
The Gwinnett Braves (6-3) take on the Durham Bulls (5-4) in game three of the four-game series tomorrow night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Left-hander Yohan Flande (0-0, 0.00) starts for the G-Braves against Bulls' right-hander Matt Torra (1-0, 4.76). Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.
Make sure you rise early on Saturday morning for the American Cancer Society 5K/Family Fun Run at Coolray Field. Prior to Saturday's game there will be a fleece blanket giveaway for fans, presented by Coolray Heating and Cooling. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.