Bats Even Series against Gwinnett, Winning 9-5
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The Louisville Bats (28-43) defeated the Gwinnett Stripers (38-32) by a 9-5 score tonight to even the series. Aristides Aquino extended his hitting streak to 22 games as the Bats will go for the series victory on Thursday.
On a beautiful Wednesday night at Coolray Field, Louisville got the scoring started right away with a three-run top of the first. Following back-to-back walks by Brian O'Grady and Aquino, Rob Refsnyder connected for his seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to put Louisville up 3-0 before right-hander Tejay Antone (1-0, 8.44) even took the mound.
Antone, who made his 2019 Bats debut tonight, went 5.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits, walking a pair while striking out seven on 84 pitches, 55 strikes. After the top of the first, the scoring was very back-and-forth, with Gwinnett scoring a run in the opening frame, and Louisville taking a 5-1 lead in the fourth on a Christian Colon RBI single. Gwinnett would counter with a pair of runs that inning to make it a 5-3 game.
The Bats were next to score, extending their lead to 6-3 on an Aquino RBI single in the sixth, extending his hitting streak to 22 games, which is now just four behind Brandon Larson's 26-game hit streak set during the 2003 season. The Bats' slugging right fielder reached base three times on the night, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks.
Gwinnett scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to draw within one run at 6-5, driving Louisville's starter Antone out of the game. While Louisville relievers Jesus Reyes, Eric Stout and Jimmy Herget combined for 3.2 scoreless innings, the offense extended the lead with three insurance runs to take a 9-5 lead, with all three RBI coming from Alex Blandino in the seventh and ninth innings. The Bats' leadoff hitter went 2-for-4 with the three RBI and a walk, with Christian Colon and Refsnyder each collecting three hits in the 9-5 win. With the victory, the Bats snapped an eight-game losing streak at Gwinnett, last winning at Coolray Field before tonight in August 2016.
Louisville and Gwinnett finish off the three-game series at Coolray Field with Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims (4-0, 4.13) on the mound for the Bats, set to oppose Gwinnett right-hander Kyle Wright (4-4, 6.02). First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m., with Louisville traveling to Charlotte to begin a three-game series Friday night.
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