LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – AJ Smith-Shawver was spectacular over 7.0 innings, striking out eight and allowing just two earned runs, but the Gwinnett Stripers (21-26) could only scratch across one run in support of the phenom, ultimately losing to the Durham Bulls (25-22) by a final score of 2-1 on Thursday
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – AJ Smith-Shawver was spectacular over 7.0 innings, striking out eight and allowing just two earned runs, but the Gwinnett Stripers (21-26) could only scratch across one run in support of the phenom, ultimately losing to the Durham Bulls (25-22) by a final score of 2-1 on Thursday night at Coolray Field.
Decisive Plays: Gwinnett worked a run across in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk from Yolmer Sanchez. Durham struck back in the top of the fourth with consecutive run-scoring hits from Tristan Gray and Niko Hulsizer to grab a 2-1 lead. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Hoy Park singled, Daniel Robertson reached on a hit-by-pitch, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. With the tying run on third and winning run on second, Joshua Fuentes struck out and Forrest Wall lined out to extinguish the Stripers’ comeback bid.
Key Contributors: Smith-Shawver (7.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts) struck out five of the first 10 batters he faced and pitched six scoreless innings around the two-run fourth. Park (2-for-4) had the only Stripers’ multi-hit outing. For Durham, Justin Sterner (3.0 IP, 1 hits, 0 runs, 4 strikeouts) silenced the Gwinnett bats in a dominant relief effort, and Gray (1-for-4, double, run, RBI) tied the game with a hit and then scored the eventual winning run.
Noteworthy: Smith-Shawver's 7.0 innings of work marks the longest start by a Stripers pitcher in 2023 and his eight strikeouts equaled the most from a starting pitcher (most recently Michael Soroka, on May 23 vs. Durham). Wall remains perfect in stolen base attempts (22-for-22). The Stripers have lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 7-9 against Charlotte and Nashville.
Next Game (Friday, May 26): Gwinnett vs. Durham, 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Radio Broadcast: 6:50 p.m. on MyCountry993.com and the Bally Live app. RHP Tanner Gordon (0-2, 10.03 ERA) for the Stripers against RHP Sean Hunley (0-1, 54.00 ERA) for the Bulls. The game will feature a Salute to Armed Forces at Coolray Field, with all Stripers players and coaches repping specialty camo jerseys, which will later be available for auction at GoStripers.com. The regular Fireworks Friday show will commence moments after the conclusion of the game.