LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (52-66) erased a four-run deficit to clip the Norfolk Tides (54-65) 5-4 on Thursday night at Coolray Field. Edward Salcedo's eighth-inning sacrifice fly plated the decisive run.
Norfolk got off to a great start, scoring two runs in the top of the second inning. Steve Clevenger singled off starter Cody Martin and moved to second on a single by Henry Urrutia. With two on and two outs, Ivan De Jesus hit a bases-clearing triple to give the Tides a 2-0 lead.
The Tides opened a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Christian Walker (4) belted a solo home run off Martin, and Dariel Alvarez added an RBI triple to score Clevenger.
Gwinnett answered with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. After a walk to Joey Terdoslavich, Christian Bethancourt (6) hammered a two-run home run off Tides' starter Steve Johnson, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
The G-Braves added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ozzie Martinez laced a double off reliever Joe Saunders and scored on an RBI double by Joe Leonard. Leonard's double extended his hitting streak to five games and gave him RBI in four straight contests.
Leonard was back at it in the bottom of the sixth. Martinez singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Salcedo and scored on an RBI single by Leonard. His second RBI of the game extended his multi-RBI streak to three games, the longest such streak by a G-Brave this season.
Gwinnett took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning against Ramon Ramirez. Martinez reached on a leadoff walk, moved to second on a passed ball by Clevenger, advanced to third on a throwing error by Ramirez and scored on Salcedo's sacrifice fly to deep left.
Martin pitched well in a no-decision for Gwinnett. The right-hander tossed 6.0 innings, scattering seven hits, allowing four runs and striking out six batters. Carlos Fisher (W, 2-0) pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts. Chasen Shreve (S, 1) recorded his first career Triple-A save as he struck out the side in the ninth.
Ramirez (L, 1-1) suffered the loss for the Tides. He allowed one unearned run in 2.0 innings of relief.
Martinez paced the G-Braves, going 3-for-3 with a double and three runs scored, while Leonard went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Bethancourt went 2-for-4 with the homer and two RBIs.
De Jesus led the Tides, going 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Gwinnett Braves and Norfolk Tides play game two of the series at Coolray Field on Friday night, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Right-hander Aaron Northcraft (0-5, 6.31) will start for the G-Braves, while the Tides will counter with right-hander Josh Stinson (3-4, 5.77).