Gwinnett 13, Norfolk 3
NORFOLK, VA - The Gwinnett Braves (69-68) erupted for 13 runs on 17 hits and routed the Norfolk Tides (64-74) 13-3 on Thursday night in the finale of the four-game series at Harbor Park.
Sean Kazmar Jr. blasted his 10th home run and tallied five RBIs, and Ronald Acuna, Kade Scivicque and Luis Valenzuela each added two RBIs as Gwinnett won its final road game of the season. The G-Braves finished 13-10 vs. the Tides in 2017, the club's seventh season series victory over Norfolk in nine years.
Kazmar got the scoring started in the top of the third inning as he lifted a three-run homer to left off Norfolk starting pitcher Jayson Aquino.
The G-Braves added four more runs in the top of the fourth inning as a two-out error by Tides' third baseman Luis Sardinas opened the gates. RBI singles by Valenzuela, Acuna, Xavier Avery and Kazmar followed the miscue, giving Gwinnett a 7-0 lead.
The advantage increased to 8-0 in the top of the fifth as Micah Johnson led off with a double off Aquino, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.
After being held scoreless for 5.0 innings by G-Braves' starting pitcher Luiz Gohara, the Tides finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Akeel Morris. J.J. Hardy walked with two outs and scored on a single to right by Sardinas, cutting the Gwinnett lead to 8-1.
Norfolk drew closer in the bottom of the eighth against Jason Hursh as back-to-back doubles by Pedro Alvarez and Drew Dosch made it 8-2. Dosch later scored from third when Sardinas grounded into a double play.
Leading 8-3, the G-Braves removed all doubt with a five-run top of the ninth. The outburst was highlighted by a two-run single from Scivicque, RBI singles by Valenzuela and Acuna and a bases-loaded walk by Kazmar.
Gohara (W, 2-2) earned the win for Gwinnett, pitching 5.0 scoreless innings with three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. Morris went 2.0 innings with three hits, one earned run, one walk and two strikeouts. Hursh pitched 1.0 inning with five hits and two earned runs. Rhiner Cruz closed out the game with a perfect bottom of the ninth.
For the Tides, Aquino (L, 3-10) tossed 4.2 innings with 10 hits, eight runs (four earned), one walk and four strikeouts. After scoreless relief from Matt Wotherspoon and Andrew Faulkner, Vidal Nuno allowed five runs on four hits over two thirds of an inning. First baseman David Washington was called upon to pitch and got the final out of the ninth.
Avery led the way offensively for the G-Braves, going 4-for-6 with an RBI. Valenzuela was 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs, while Acuna was 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs. Scivicque went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Kazmar went 2-for-5 with the homer and five RBIs.
Ruben Tejada led Norfolk with a 3-for-4 night. Sardinas went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Gwinnett Braves return to Coolray Field on Friday night for the final homestand of the 2017 season. Friday is game one of a five-game Labor Day weekend series against the Durham Bulls. Right-hander Aaron Blair (7-8, 5.06 ERA) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves, while the Bulls will counter with right-hander Burch Smith (1-1, 2.53 ERA). First pitch is 7:05 p.m. Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 6:35 p.m.
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