CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Gwinnett Braves (7-6) continued their hot hitting with a 7-2 win over the Charlotte Knights (6-8) on Wednesday night, the opener of a three-game series at brand new BB&T Ballpark in downtown Charlotte.
It was also another good effort for G-Braves starter Daniel Rodriguez (W, 2-1) who gave the team 5.0 solid innings, allowed only one earned run, walked one and struck out three. Rodriguez has now struck out 19 batters in his three starts in 2014.
The Knights actually got on the board first, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. Hector Gimenez led off with a single and moved to second on a walk to Denis Phipps. With no outs, Rodriguez got Alex Liddi to hit into a 5-3 double play moving Phipps to second. Tyler Saladino then plated Phipps from second with a single to left for a 1-0 Charlotte lead.
The Knights' lead evaporated quickly in the top of the third. Gwinnett catcher Steve Lerud (1) tied the game with a long solo home run to right-center off Charlotte starter Dylan Axelrod. Tyler Greene followed with a triple off the wall in right and scored from third on a single to center by Jose Constanza. Constanza stole second, moved to third on a bunt by Todd Cunningham and scored on a ground out to first by Tommy La Stella, giving Gwinnett a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Joey Terdoslavich (1) greeted Axelrod with a solo homer to left to push the G-Braves' lead to 4-1.
Charlotte cut into the lead at 4-2 with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth. Gwinnett reliever Mark Lamm yielded a leadoff triple to Josh Phegley, who scored from third with two outs as third baseman Edward Salcedo misplayed a grounder by Phipps.
But in the top of the eighth, facing Charlotte reliever Javy Guerra, the G-Braves scored twice to put the game away. Constanza led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third on single by La Stella that bounced off the foot of Guerra and landed in left field. Ernesto Mejia then singled off the left field wall, scoring Constanza for a 5-2 lead. La Stella moved to third as Mejia was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double. Terdoslavich then scored La Stella from third with an infield single for a 6-2 lead.
The final run of the game came in the top of the ninth. With former University of Georgia star Mitchell Boggs on in relief for Charlotte, Constanza walked, stole second and scored on a single to center by Cunningham.
Lamm (H, 1) went 1.1 innings in relief of Rodriguez. He allowed one hit and one unearned run while walking two and striking out one. Ryan Buchter (H, 2) pitched 1.2 innings with one hit and one strikeout. Juan Jamie pitched a scoreless ninth with one walk and two strikeouts.
Axelrod (L, 1-1) pitched 6.0 innings for Charlotte. He gave up six hits and four earned runs while walking one and striking out five. Guerra went 2.0 innings with four hits, two earned runs and one walk. Boggs pitched the top of the ninth with one hit, one earned run, one walk and one strikeout.
Gwinnett's 11 hit attack was led by Mejia, who was 3-for-4 with his team leading 15th RBI. Terdoslavich went 2-for-3 with his first home run of the season and two RBIs. Constanza was 2-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases. The G-Braves have recorded 32 hits over the past two games.
The Knights were led by Phegley, who was 2-for-4.