A Matt Tuiasosopo RBI double in the top of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Gwinnett Braves (4-4) a determined 3-2 victory over the Norfolk Tides (1-7) on Thursday afternoon in the finale of their four-game series at Harbor Park.
With the win, the G-Braves have won three in a row on their current road trip after taking three of four from the Tides in Norfolk.
Gwinnett began the eighth trailing 2-1. However, Norfolk reliever Richard Rodriguez walked Ozzie Albies to begin the inning and followed by giving up a single to Sean Kazmar Jr. The G-Braves then executed a double steal, moving Albies to third and Kazmar Jr. to second. Mel Rojas Jr. tied the game by plating Albies with a sacrifice fly to left. The Tides then brought in right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis from the bullpen to work to Tuiasosopo, who hit a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right field to score Kazmar Jr. from second for the eventual winning run.
The G-Braves had taken the lead in the first as Albies led off the game with a double to left off Norfolk starter Chris Lee and would eventually score from third on a ground out to shortstop by Rojas Jr.
G-Braves starter Matt Wisler gave up the tying run to Norfolk in the bottom of the first as Logan Schafer led off with a single, moved to second on a throwing error, and scored on a double to right by Pedro Alvarez.
In the bottom of the second, Norfolk took a 2-1 lead as Alex Castellanos drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on a double to left by Paul Janish.
The 2-1 score held up until the G-Braves rallied in the eighth inning.
Wisler pitched 6.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out five for the G-Braves' first quality start of the season. Caleb Dirks (W, 1-0) went 1.2 scoreless innings with one hit and one walk to earn his first win of the year out of the bullpen. Sam Freeman (S, 1) picked up the save after pitching the final 1.1 innings to finish off the win for Gwinnett.
Lee pitched 5.0 innings with five hits, one earned run, three walks and five strikeouts. Rodriguez (L, 0-1) went 2.1 innings with one hit, two earned runs and one walk. Yacabonis worked 1.2 innings with one hit.
Gwinnett was led by Albies and Kazmar Jr. as both went 2-for-3 at the plate. Albies added a double and scored twice to extend his hitting streak to seven games. He also has four multi-hit games in the young 2017 season. Kazmar Jr. scored once in the victory and Rojas Jr. drove in two of Gwinnett's three runs. Tuiasosopo was 1-for-2 with an RBI double and two walks.
For Norfolk, Alvarez was 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Janish was 2-for-3 with an RBI double.
The G-Braves continue the seven-game road trip Friday night with the first game of a three-game weekend series in Durham against the Bulls. Right-hander Lucas Sims (1-0, 1.80) is scheduled to make his second start of the season for Gwinnett. The Bulls have scheduled left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (0-1, 6.00). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m.
Gwinnett returns home on Tuesday, April 18 with a 7:05 p.m. game vs. Rochester. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.