DURHAM, NC - The Gwinnett Braves (4-2) pushed across a run in the top of the 10th inning and clipped the Durham Bulls 6-5 in game two of the three-game series Tuesday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The game saw the G-Braves battle the Bulls into extra innings for a second straight night, but this time they would hang on for the win. In Monday night's series opener, Durham rallied for a 6-5 victory in 11 innings.
The first three innings on Tuesday were a pitcher's duel between starters John Gant for Gwinnett and Blake Snell for Durham. The Bulls cracked the scoreboard first with two runs in the bottom of the fourth off Gant. Jaff Decker singled home the game's first run and scored on a double by Nick Franklin.
Durham pushed the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth as Taylor Motter singled off Gwinnett reliever Joel De La Cruz to score Mikie Mahtook.
But as they did on Monday night, the G-Braves chipped away at the deficit. Tyler Moore led off the top of the sixth with a double off Durham reliever Kyle McPherson and moved to third on a lineout to center by Matt Tuiasosopo. A groundout to third by Ryan Lavarnway scored Moore to make it 3-1.
An inning later, Brandon Snyder greeted McPherson with a single to left, and with two outs, scored from first on a long double to left by Daniel Castro to cut the Bulls' lead to 3-2. Reid Brignac drove in Castro with a single to center to tie the game at 3-3. After a wild pitch by McPherson moved Brignac to second, Moore stroked a double off the wall in left to put Gwinnett ahead 4-3.
In the top of the eighth, with Mark Sappington pitching for Durham, Ronnier Mustelier singled to right and scored from first on a double to right by Chase d'Arnaud to push the lead to 5-3.
The G-Braves carried that 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Brandon Cunniff gave up a leadoff single to Daniel Robertson and a two-run homer to Nick Franklin (1) that tied the game at 5-5. The Bulls went on to load the bases with two outs in the inning, but Cunniff got Richie Shaffer to fly out to left to end the threat.
Gwinnett came right back to score the winning run in the top of the 10th inning. Durham brought in outfielder Dayron Varona to pitch and he walked Tuiasosopo to put the leadoff man aboard. Mustelier singled to right, moving Tuiasosopo to third, and, with the infield pulled in, Snyder drove in Tuiasosopo with a groundout between third and short.
Danny Burawa (S, 1) walked Decker to lead off the bottom of the 10th, but was able to hang on for the save. Cunniff (BS, 1, W, 1-0) picked up the win despite allowing two earned runs on four hits and one walk over 1.0 inning. Gant went 3.2 innings in his G-Braves' debut with three hits, two earned runs, two walks and five strikeouts. De La Cruz yielded a run on two hits over 3.0 solid innings, and lefty Ian Krol (H, 2) struck out two over 1.1 scoreless innings.
Snell pitched 4.2 scoreless, two-hit innings and struck out nine for the Bulls. McPherson worked 2.0 innings with three hits, three earned runs and one strikeout. Sappington (BS, 1) went 1.1 innings, gave up two earned runs on four hits and struck out two. Jhan Marinez pitched 1.0 inning with one hit and one strikeout. Varona (L, 0-1) worked 1.0 inning with one run on one hit and one walk.
Offensively for Gwinnett, Brignac, Moore and Mustelier each went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Moore doubled twice and plated a run. Castro went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and an RBI.
Franklin led Durham with a 2-for-5 night that included a double, homer and three RBIs.
The G-Braves and Bulls conclude the series Wednesday morning in Durham. Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (0-0, 2.25) will start for Gwinnett, while Durham will counter with right-hander Matt Andriese (0-0, 6.75). First pitch is set for 11:05 a.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM and WSBRadio.com beginning at 10:35 a.m.
Gwinnett's home opener at Coolray Field is set for Thursday April 14 at 7:05 p.m. against the Norfolk Tides. To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.