Omar Poveda made his ninth start of the season for the Gwinnett Braves (17-30) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field as they closed out their season series with the Louisville Bats (23-23), and despite making his seventh-consecutive quality start (eighth overall) Poveda took the loss as Gwinnett fell to Louisville by a 6-2 final.
Poveda (L, 3-3, 2.52) worked 7.0 innings and allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits while walking three and striking out two on his way to his team-leading eighth quality start of the season.
The Bats plated all three of their runs against Poveda in the third inning. The 25-year old started the inning by issuing a free pass to Billy Hamilton, and then gave up a bunt single to Henry Rodriguez before striking out Neftali Soto for the first tout of the inning. Hamilton then swiped his 23rd base of the season to put runners on the corners with Felix Perez at the plate.
Perez came through with a triple to right field that scored both Louisville runners and brought Mike Hessman to the dish. Hessman singled on a liner back to Poveda, but Perez could not advance and the Bats had runners on the corners for the second time in the inning. Josh Fellhauer pushed Perez the final 90 feet on a sac fly to Brandon Boggs in right before Emmanuel Buriss lined out to Boggs to end the inning.
Poveda rebounded to retire the final 14 batters he faced, but the Gwinnett offense managed only two runs against Louisville starter Chad Reineke (W, 4-3, 3.88) before Poveda exited with the G-Braves trailing by a run, 3-2. The Bats hurler finished the night with 7.0 innings of work and allowed two earned runs, six hits, walked one and recorded three K’s.
Ryan Butcher (1.0 IP, 1H, 2ER, 1BB, 1HR) and Pat Egan (1.0 IP, 2H, 1ER, 1SO, 1HR) followed Poveda to the hill for Gwinnett and allowed the Bats to tack on three more runs on a pair of long balls.
The Bats pen was solid and held the G-Braves hitless over the final two innings. Kevin Whelan (1.0 IP, 1BB) earned his first Hold of the season, while Yohan Pino (1.0 IP, 2SO) struck out two-of-three batters he faced in the ninth.
Todd Cunningham (2-for-3) doubled and tripled as well as contributing a RBI to lead the Gwinnett offense, while Hessman went 3-for-4 with a double, a homerun and two RBI to pace the Louisville attack.
Jose Constanza singled in Gwinnett’s half of the fifth to extend his International League leading hitting streak to 18 games.
Gwinnett returns to action Thursday night when they host the Toledo Mud Hens in the first of a four-game set at Coolray Field. First-pitch is set for 6:05 PM. Left-hander Daniel Rodriguez (2-3, 5.77) will start for the G-Braves against left-hander Ramon Garcia (1-4, 5.20) of the Mud Hens.
Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Dave Lezotte calling the play-by-play.
Thursday night is “$3 Thursday” at Coolray Field. Enjoy $3 food and beverage specials all game long. Lawn Seats are also just $3.
The Gwinnett Braves are the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and play in the South Division of the International League, one of two Triple-A leagues. Coolray Field is home to the G-Braves.
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