After surrendering the lead in the top of the ninth inning, the Gwinnett Braves rallied back to defeat the Rochester Red Wings 7-6 in a walk-off thriller at Coolray Field on Wednesday night.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, reigning International League Batter of the Week Lane Adams grounded a base hit through a drawn-in Rochester infield. Matt Tuiasosopo came home from third with the tying run, and Kyle Kubitza hustled from second and beat the tag at home plate to give the G-Braves the win. After Kubitza scored, Adams was mobbed by his teammates in celebration of the G-Braves' first walk-off win of the 2017 season.
In the bottom of the first, the G-Braves (8-5) grabbed the early lead thanks to their leadoff hitter. Ozzie Albies laced a double to left to extend his IL-leading hitting streak to 12 games. Two batters later, rehabbing Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Kemp drove in Albies with a sacrifice fly to right, giving Gwinnett a 1-0 lead.
Rochester (7-5) quickly responded in the top of the second, as Mitch Garver hit a solo home run against G-Braves' starter Matt Wisler to even the score at 1-1. Two innings later, the Red Wings grabbed a 2-1 lead as Daniel Palka homered to left-center.
Red Wings' starter Jose Berrios (1-0, 1.42) couldn't hold the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Tuiasosopo led off with a walk and advanced to second on a ground out. The next hitter, Rio Ruiz, hit a fly ball to left that was missed by Palka for an error, allowing Tuiasosopo to come home with the tying run. Gwinnett then took a 3-2 lead as Adams singled to right, plating Ruiz.
In the fifth, Wisler worked around a single from Shuck to pitch a scoreless frame and protect the lead, thanks to a great inning-ending catch in deep center field by Xavier Avery, who robbed Tommy Field of an extra-base hit with a running catch before slamming into the wall. Wisler then returned to the mound in the sixth and retired the Red Wings in order.
Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Kubitza launched his first home run with the G-Braves, a solo shot 355 feet down the right field line, to double the Gwinnett lead to 4-2.
Wisler retired the side in order in the seventh, ending his night. In his best start of the young season, he pitched 7.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out five.
Gwinnett extended the lead in the bottom of the seventh against the Red Wings bullpen. Sean Kazmar Jr. led off with a walk, moved to third on a single by Kemp and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tuiasosopo to make it 5-2.
Rochester cut the lead to 5-4 with two runs in the eighth off Gwinnett reliever Jason Hursh. In the ninth, the Red Wings took a 6-5 lead against closer David Hernandez as Shuck laced a triple to score a pair.
But Hernandez (W, 1-0) would end up earning his first win of the season thanks to the offensive rally against Rochester reliever Alex Wimmers (L, 0-1). Wimmers walked the bases loaded before allowing the game-winning hit to Adams.
Adams finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a stolen base. Kemp, In his first minor league game since 2013,went 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI.
Shuck went 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs and Palka went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Rochester.
The G-Braves and Red Wings conclude the three-game series on Thursday afternoon at Coolray Field, first pitch set for 12:05 p.m. Right-hander Lucas Sims (1-0, 4.66) will start for Gwinnett, while Rochester will counter with right-hander Nick Tepesch (1-0, 2.77).
Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 11:35 a.m. 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.