LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - After letting a lead slip away in the eighth inning, the Gwinnett Braves (59-60) rallied to tie the game in the ninth and walked off to defeat the Louisville Bats (46-73) 8-7 in a 10-inning thriller on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. With Gwinnett trailing 7-3 and the
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - After letting a lead slip away in the eighth inning, the Gwinnett Braves (59-60) rallied to tie the game in the ninth and walked off to defeat the Louisville Bats (46-73) 8-7 in a 10-inning thriller on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.
With Gwinnett trailing 7-3 and the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, Xavier Avery crushed a fly ball to dead center field for a grand slam that went just over the glove of leaping Bats' center fielder Phil Ervin to tie the game at 7-7. With two outs in the 10th, Ronald Acuña Jr. lined a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Kade Scivicque all the way from first base to finish off the G-Braves' first-ever four-game sweep of Louisville.
Early on, the game looked to be a pitcher's duel. In the bottom of the first, Gwinnett struck first as Matt Tuiasosopo drew bases-loaded walk off Louisville starter Amir Garrett to score Micah Johnson.
Louisville quickly got the run back in the second as Chad Wallach hit a solo homer to left off Gwinnett starter Luiz Gohara . The Bats took the lead in the fourth on a double from Brandon Dixon that scored Ervin.
In the sixth, Gohara was pulled after giving up a two-out double to Wallach. Rhiner Cruz entered out of the bullpen and struck out Tyler Goeddel to end the inning and close the book on Gohara. Over 5.2 innings, Gohara gave up two earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out eight. He did not factor in the decision.
Gwinnett got Gohara off the hook in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Kyle Kubitza hit a fly ball to center field. Ervin made the catch and threw home to prevent the run from scoring, but his throw was off the mark for an error, allowing Dustin Peterson to score the tying run. Emerson Landoni followed with a ground out to score Rio Ruiz with the go-ahead run for the G-Braves.
But the Bats scored five runs off Jason Hursh (BS, 4) to take a 7-3 lead in the eighth. Dixon tied the game with an RBI double, and later in the inning, Zach Vincej's grand slam to left opened up a four-run lead. Phillip Pfeifer replaced Hursh and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings to keep the deficit at four runs heading to the bottom of the ninth.
In the ninth, Avery's 401-foot grand slam off Louisville closer Jimmy Herget (BS, 2) tied the game at 7-7. The home run was Avery's 11th of the season, tied for the team lead alongside Ruiz. It was the first regular-season grand slam by a G-Brave since Donnie Murphy hit one on August 20, 2014 vs. Charlotte at Coolray Field.
A.J. Minter (W, 1-2) retired the Bats in order in the 10th, and he would earn his first Triple-A win because of Acuna's heroics against Louisville right-hander Barrett Astin (L, 2-3) the bottom of the inning.
For Gwinnett, Avery led the way by going 1-for-3 with the grand slam and four RBIs off the bench. Scivicque was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Acuna's walk-off double was his only hit of the afternoon in a 1-for-5 effort.
Louisville was led by Vincej, who was 2-for-4 with the grand slam and four RBIs. Dixon was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Garrett allowed three runs, two earned on five hits over 5.1 innings in a no-decision.
After an off day on Monday, the G-Braves will hit the road to begin a 10-game road trip. Game one of a three-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field is Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Former New York Yankees draft pick, right-hander Manny Barreda (0-0, 2.61 ERA) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves while the RailRiders have yet to officially name a starter. 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 G-Braves are back home on Friday, August 25 for a doubleheader to begin a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.