NORFOLK, Va. - The Gwinnett Stripers (1-1) lost to the Norfolk Tides (1-1) by a 3-1 score Sunday afternoon in the final game of the series at Harbor Park. DJ Stewart (1) drilled a two-out, two-run walk-off homer to left in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Tides.
The blast, off the first pitch from Gwinnett reliever Miguel Socolovich (L, 0-1), came after Garabez Rosa poked a single to right with two outs and the bases empty.
Prior to the ninth, the pitching staffs were in control with both starters exiting amid a 1-1 game. Gwinnett starter Matt Wisler gave up the first run of the game in the bottom of the third as Joey Rickard singled to right with one out and scored from first on a triple into the right field corner by Jaycob Brugman for a 1-0 Norfolk lead.
The Stripers had trouble solving Tides starter David Hess, but finally broke through in the top of the sixth. Hess entered the frame having retired 12 batters in a row, but Tyler Smith (1) ended the streak with a leadoff solo homer to left for a 1-1 tie.
Both bullpens were effective as well until the blast by Stewart that ended the game.
Wisler, making his 30th career start for Gwinnett, pitched 5.0 innings with three hits, one earned run and three strikeouts. David Peterson worked 2.0 innings with one hit and one walk. Rex Brothers tossed 1.0 inning with one walk and two strikeouts. Socolovich took the loss, giving up two hits and two earned runs over 0.2 innings.
For the Tides, Hess went 5.0 innings with three hits, one earned run and seven strikeouts. Josh Edgin, Donnie Hart, Asher Wojciechowski and Andrew Faulkner (W, 1-0) combined on 4.0 scoreless, one-hit innings in relief.
The Stripers were led at the plate by Smith, Chris Stewart and Rio Ruiz as each were 1-for-3. Ronald Acuna Jr., the Atlanta Braves' No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com, was 0-for-4 and ended 0-for-8 in the two-game series.
For the Tides, Brugman was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Stewart's homer was his only hit in four at-bats.
The Stripers' season-opening road trip continues Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Right-hander Lucas Sims (NR) starts for Gwinnett, while the Durham Bulls will counter with right-hander and former Gwinnett pitcher Ryan Weber (NR). 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.
The Stripers' home opener at Coolray Field is set for Thursday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Rochester Red Wings. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GoStripers.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.