LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - The Gwinnett Braves (58-60) sent the home crowd of 6,581 home happy by taking an early lead and never looking back to defeat the Louisville Bats (46-72) 7-3 on Saturday night at Coolray Field.
Kris Medlen (W, 2-5) earned his second win of the season by tossing 6.0 quality innings, giving up just one run on two hits while walking one and striking out four. Offensively, the G-Braves put up two runs in the second, four in the third, and one in the fourth to provide the pitchers with all the support they would need.
Darnell Sweeney began the game for Louisville with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Hernan Iribarren to give the Bats the early 1-0 lead, but the visitors would produce just one more hit off Medlen the rest of the night.
The lead wouldn't last long. In the bottom of the second against Louisville starter Luke Farrell (L, 0-1), Carlos Franco lined an RBI double to deep right field to tie the game. David Freitas followed with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Kyle Kubitza to put Gwinnett in front.
The next inning, the lead would grow for the G-Braves. Ronald Acuna started the frame with a double off the left field wall, stole third base, and then scored on a single to left from Rio Ruiz . Two batters later, Kubitza hit a line drive into the right field corner for a triple that scored two more runs, ending Farrell's night. Reliever Ismael Guillon entered and promptly threw a wild pitch, allowing Kubitza to score as the Gwinnett lead increased to 6-1.
With Medlen heading to the plate, the skies above Coolray Field opened up as the game went into a rain delay for 41 minutes. When play resumed, Medlen struck out to end the inning.
Medlen returned to the mound in the fourth and quickly retired the side in order. Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Acuna launched a solo home run an estimated 399 feet into the Gwinnett bullpen in left field, increasing the lead to 7-1. The home run was Acuna's fifth with Gwinnett and 17th overall this season, which ranks second among Braves' farmhands.
Rehabbing Atlanta Braves' reliever Dan Winkler tossed a scoreless seventh. The Bats got two runs in the eighth on a double from Phil Ervin off Akeel Morris to cut the lead to 7-3. But that proved to be the final as David Peterson tossed a scoreless ninth to end Gwinnett's third straight win.
Acuna went 2-for-5 with a double, home run, two runs scored, RBI and stolen base to lead the G-Braves. Kubitza went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs.
For Louisville, Ervin was 2-for-4 with the two-run double. Making his Bats debut, Farrell took the loss after giving up six earned runs over 2.2 innings.
The series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. matchup at Coolray Field on Sunday afternoon. Left-hander Luiz Gohara (0-2, 5.17 ERA) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against the Bats' Amir Garrett (1-3, 6.25 ERA). Dave Lezotte has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 12:35 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to bring their ticket stub from Saturday, August 12 and receive a buy-one, get-one free deal on Field Box tickets for Sunday. As part of Sunday Funday (sponsored by Georgia United Credit Union), fans are invited to play catch on the field before the game at approximately 12:05 p.m. Following the game, kids ages 12 and under are welcome to run the bases. It's also High School Football Day, as former Atlanta Braves outfielder and Parkview High School's own Jeff Francoeur will be on hand to support his alma mater and sign autographs for fans from 12-12:45 p.m. After Kids Run the Bases, it's the Post-Game Candy Drop (sponsored by Blue Ridge Helicopters). 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.