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Gsellman Keeps Braves at Bay
04/12/2014 12:44 AM ET
RF Victor Cruzado batted in two of the Gnats' four runs with a 3rd inning triple in Friday night's win versus the Rome Braves. (Photo by Fred Devyatkin)

Savannah, GA - The Sand Gnats defeated the Rome Braves 4-1 thanks in part to a solid seven innings from Gnats starter Robert Gsellman on Friday night at State Mutual Stadium. Rome outhit Savannah 7-5 but earned just one walk to the Gnats' five.  

The Gnats (5-3) again inflicted damage early, chasing Braves righthander Carlos Salazar (0-1) after four innings. Patience and opportunity proved to be key, as three of the Gnats' four runs scored were first put on base by way of a walk or hit-by-pitch.

In the first inning, Salazar hit 3B Jeff McNeil with a pitch and then proceeded to walk both 2B L.J. Mazzilli and DH Jared King to load the bases. Next, LF Stefan Sabol singled up the middle to knock in McNeil and Mazzilli to help the Gnats take the lead for good. Sabol is now leading the SAL in all three traditional slash-line stats with a .474 average, a .583 on-base percentage, and an impressive .947 slugging percentage. Sabol also added another stolen base to his total and is now 2-for-2 on attempts.  

Savannah struck again in the third inning, when RF Victor Cruzado sent a 2 RBI triple to right field for his third extra-base hit of the season. After Salazar's exit in the fourth inning, Rome Braves (3-6) relievers held the Gnats in check, allowing just one hit through the rest of the game.

Gsellman (1-1) was efficient in his second start of the season, pitching seven innings while racking up six strikeouts to just one walk issued. The only blemish was unearned, as Rome was able to push a run across in the first inning with Victor Caratini's sac-fly. Gsellman's ERA has now plummeted to 1.46 on the young season.

Gnats reliever Robert Coles entered the game in the eighth inning with runners on second and third base with two outs and promptly struck out Jacob Schrader. Coles then cruised through the ninth to earn his second save of the season in as many opportunities.

Tonight's win keeps Savannah on pace with Greensboro (5-3), still tied for the division lead. The Gnats will send RHP John Gant (1-0, 1.50) to the mound Saturday to take on the Braves' Jared Dettmann (0-1, 3.61). First pitch at State Mutual Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.     

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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