LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - Gwinnett's two youngest players - Austin Riley and Kolby Allard - stole the show Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field as they carried the Stripers to a 10-0 victory over the Norfolk Tides.
In his seventh career Triple-A game, the 21-year-old Riley went 4-for-5 with three home runs - including a grand slam - and eight RBIs. Not to be outdone, the 20-year-old Allard held the Tides to two hits over eight scoreless innings.
Riley's first blast came in the first inning off Norfolk starter Matt Wotherspoon. After Peter Bourjos started the inning with a triple and scored on a Danny Santana double, Riley turned on a 1-0 pitch that rocketed 373 feet out to left field at 105 mph. Riley's first career Triple-A homer gave the Stripers a 3-0 lead.
Rio Ruiz followed with a single and Xavier Avery ripped a run-scoring double to make it 4-0 after one inning.
After Riley struck out in the second inning, his second homer came leading off the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-0. He sent a 3-1 pitch from Andrew Faulkner off the batter's eye in center field, traveling an estimated 418 feet at 106.8 mph off the bat.
Riley picked up an RBI single in the seventh after a Santana double for a 6-0 lead.
The exclamation point for the Stripers' third baseman came in the eighth. Chris Stewart was hit by a pitch, Tyler Smith reached on an error and Bourjos singled to load the bases. Riley completed his masterpiece by launching a 384-foot shot to center field off Josh Edgin for a grand slam and the 10-0 final.
Riley's herculean effort can be etched in Gwinnett baseball history. On the same day, he tied Gwinnett franchise records for home runs (3) and RBIs (8) in a game, each career highs. Before Sunday, only Derrick Mitchell had homered three times in a game for Gwinnett (May 9, 2014 at Lehigh Valley), and only Mauro Gomez had recorded eight RBIs in a game for Gwinnett (July 25, 2011 at Norfolk).
Meanwhile, Allard (W, 3-1) breezed through a Norfolk lineup that entered the day ranked fourth in the International League in team batting. In tying his career-best with 8.0 innings pitched, he allowed just two hits and one walk while fanning eight. He lowered his ERA to 1.71, which ranked him second among starters at the Triple-A level at the time of the game's completion.
In addition to Riley's four-hit day, Santana finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and a triple, while Bourjos was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Stripers knocked out Wotherspoon (L, 1-2) after 3.0 innings with six hits and four earned runs allowed. Edgin, who allowed Riley's grand slam, was charged with three earned runs on two hits in 1.0 inning of work.
Philip Pfeifer allowed two hits in the ninth inning but struck out two and persevered Gwinnett's third shutout of the season.
The Stripers are off Monday before heading to Columbus, OH to open a three-game series against the Clippers on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Wes Parsons is scheduled to make his first Triple-A start of the season, while right-hander Shane Bieber (0-1, 2.13 ERA) is lined up for Columbus. Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 and 93.5 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.