The Gwinnett Braves (18-14) produced just enough offense to back a strong start from top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb in a 3-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens (16-15) on Thursday morning at Coolray Field. An energetic Education Day crowd of 8,539 watched the G-Braves win the series with Toledo, three games to one.
Newcomb (W, 2-2) pitched 7.0 strong innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits while walking four and striking out five to earn his second career Triple-A win. Offensively, Matt Tuiasosopo drove in two of the G-Braves' three runs with a pair of RBI infield singles.
For the fourth straight game, the Mud Hens got on the board first. With the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, John Hicks grounded out to short, scoring Omar Infante with the game's first run. Two batters later, Newcomb induced a fly out from Argenis Diaz to limit the damage to one run and leave the bases loaded.
After a scoreless second inning, Toledo doubled the lead to 2-0 in the third as rehabbing Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run to center. Newcomb rebounded in the fourth to retire the side in order, and Gwinnett would give him the run support he needed in the bottom of the inning.
Leading off the fourth, Johan Camargo blasted his third home run of the season, a solo shot, an estimated 407 feet to right-center off Mud Hens' starter William Cuevas (L, 1-3). Later in the inning, Lane Adams singled and advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, Tuiasosopo hit a ground ball between third base and shortstop and hustled down the line to beat the throw at first base. On the play, Adams raced all the way home from second and slid around a tag at the plate to score, tying the game at 2-2.
After giving up the home run to Martinez, Newcomb retired the next seven batters he faced before allowing a two-out single to JaCoby Jones in the fifth. Following the single, Newcomb again retired seven in a row, including all three hitters he faced in both the sixth and seventh innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Gwinnett offense got Newcomb the lead. Mel Rojas Jr. began the frame by hitting a high pop-up that landed between multiple Mud Hens in shallow center field for a double. Two batters later, Rojas Jr. stood at third with two outs as Tuiasosopo came to the plate. The Gwinnett first baseman again hustled out a ground ball to short and beat the play at first for his second RBI infield single of the game to give the G-Braves a 3-2 lead.
In the eighth, Rhiner Cruz (H, 2) came in for Gwinnett and retired the side in order. In the ninth, Mauricio Cabrera (S, 1) entered for the G-Braves and worked past a one-out walk, inducing a comebacker to the mound from Jason Krizan to start a game-ending double play. Cabrera's save was the first of his career at the Triple-A level.
Tuiasosopo finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the G-Braves. Rojas Jr. went 2-for-4 with a double to extend his season-best hitting streak to nine games. Adams also went 2-for-4 with his eighth stolen base.
For Toledo, Cuevas suffered the loss after allowing three runs in 6.0 innings. Offensively, the Mud Hens produced just three hits in their final game at Coolray Field this season.
The Gwinnett Braves continue the homestand on Friday with game one of a three-game series against the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Andrew Albers (2-0, 3.72) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against Clippers' right-hander Adam Plutko (0-5, 6.97). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.