LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Gwinnett Stripers (6-4) defeated the Louisville Bats (5-6) in the fourth and final game of the Bats' first home series by a score of 7-4, splitting the series 2-2.
The Stripers were powered by center fielder Rafael Ortega's two-home run game. Ortega hit his first home run off of Louisville starter Odrisamer Despaigne (0-0, 4.50) leading off the game. It was Ortega's second game in a row with a leadoff homer. Despaigne pitched four full innings for Louisville, allowing two earned runs, both solo home runs by Ortega in the first and Andres Blanco in the third inning.
The Bats' offense cut the deficit in half in the third inning. Louisville first baseman Nick Longhi hit the team's first triple of the season, a line drive over the Stripers Ortega. Longhi was then driven in on a single by Bats right fielder Courtney Hawkins. The game was then delayed for two hours and one minute due to inclement weather. Stripers starter Kolby Allard was relieved by Corbin Clouse to end the fourth inning.
The Bats would reclaim the lead 3-2 in the sixth inning on a long-ball off the bat of Longhi, scoring him and third baseman Christian Colon. After a strong three inning relief outing from Jackson Stephens, Louisville would then turn to reliever Ian Krol in the eighth to continue the strong bullpen performance. Krol surrendered a solo home run to Ortega, making it his third home run of the series and tie the game 3-3. The Bats then looked to rely on relief pitcher Sal Romano. Romano would have another tough outing as he gave up one hit, walked three and allowed three runs. The Stripers would put one more run on the board and head to the ninth losing 7-3. The Bats looked to be mounting a comeback as Hawkins hit a solo home run, his first career homer at the Triple-A level, to deep center field, as he continued his impressive play in the series. The Stripers' Thomas Burrows eventually would close the door and pick up his second save of the season. Gwinnett's Connor Johnstone (1-0) came away with the win and Romano the loss.
The Bats continue their homestand Monday at 7:00 pm at Louisville Slugger Field against the Columbus Clippers (6-4), Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Expected starters for game one is RHP Lucas Sims (1-0, 3.24) vs RHP Chih-Wei Hu (0-0, 3.52).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.