TOLEDO, OH- The Gwinnett Braves (35-30) banged out 13 hits on Thursday night in Toledo to defeat the Mud Hens (28-36) 8-3 in the final game of the three game series at Fifth Third Field. The win completed a three-game sweep for the G-Braves, who extended their winning streak to five games.
Early in the game, it was the long ball that did the damage for both clubs. In the top of the second, Kyle Kubitza cracked a long two-run homer to right off Toledo starting pitcher Anthony Vasquez for a 2-0 lead. Kubitza repeated the feat in the top of the fourth, hitting another deep two-run shot to right-center for a 4-0 Gwinnett lead.
However, home runs got the Mud Hens back into the game as Michael Almanzar hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth off Gwinnett starter Matt Wisler , cutting the lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Tyler Collins lifted a solo shot to left off Wisler to cut the Gwinnett lead to 4-3.
The G-Braves maintained the one-run lead until the top of the eighth, when they sent nine men to the plate and scored four runs to break the game open. Carlos Franco and Anthony Recker greeted reliever Jeff Farrell with back-to-back singles to begin the inning, and Toledo called for lefty Kyle Ryan out of the bullpen. After one out, David Freitas lined a single to left, scoring Franco from second for a 5-3 Gwinnett lead. Stephen Gaylor then bounced a ball though the middle of a drawn in infield for a double, scoring Recker for a 6-3 lead and his first career Triple-A RBI. Ozzie Albies followed with his sixth triple of the season, a shot to the gap in left-center, scoring both Freitas and Gaylor to end the scoring as the G-Braves took their largest lead of the night.
Wisler (W, 2-4) pitched 6.0 innings with three hits, three runs, two walks and four strikeouts to earn his second win of the season. Evan Phillips (H, 2) worked 1.0 inning with one hit and one walk. Akeel Morris tossed 1.0 inning with two hits and three strikeouts. Enrique Burgos worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth with one strikeout to finish the win.
For the Mud Hens, Vasquez (L, 2-3) went 6.1 innings with seven hits, four earned runs, three walks and three strikeouts. Ferrell pitched two thirds of an inning with two hits, two earned runs and one walk. Ryan worked two thirds of an inning with three hits, two earned runs, one walk and one strikeout. Victor Alcantara tossed 1.1 innings with one hit and one strikeout.
At the plate, Kubitza had a career night as his two home runs and four RBIs both matched career highs set with Double-A Mississippi in 2014. Freitas went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Recker and Albies each were 2-for-5 and Recker scored twice while Albies knocked in two runs with a triple.
Almanzar was 1-for-3 for Toledo with a two-run homer, his fourth in the last three games.
The G-Braves road trip continues Friday night at 7:15 p.m. with game one of a three-game weekend series in Columbus against the Clippers. Right-handerLucas Sims (5-3, 3.65 ERA) will get the start for the G-Braves. Columbus is scheduled to start right-hander Julian Merryweather (3-0, 3.43 ERA). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 6:45 p.m. from Huntington Park.
The G-Braves return home on Monday, June 19 to begin a seven-game homestand against the Charlotte Knights and Norfolk Tides. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.