Gwinnett "grows" a shutout victory over Norfolk on Agriculture Night by an 8-0 score
Pre-game: Norfolk Tides (12-9) vs Gwinnett Stripers (8-13)
The April 29th (2022) game between the Norfolk Tides (the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) and Gwinnett Stripers (the AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) sees both teams looking at taking charge of the remaining games of the 5-games series.
The Tides currently sit in 2nd place in the International League East standings (1 game out of first place). Starting pitcher Zac Lowther (0-2 with an 11.05 earned run average in 3 games/2 starts) looks to stifle the Stripers' offense. Complimented by the team leader in RBI's (runs batted in), Tyler Nevin (.364 batting average with 17 RBI's), along with Kyle Stowers (.265 BA with 9 RBI's), and Robert Neustrom (.264 BA with 4 home runs and 11 RBI's), Norfolk looks to win their second game in a row over Gwinnett.
Connor Johnstone (0-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 innings pitched) makes his 2nd start of the season for the Stripers. Pat Valaika (.294 with a team leading 14 RBI's), Braden Shewmake (.281 BA), and Justin Dean (3 stolen bases) are among those looking to position the team to a win and inch closer to a .500 mark for tonight's Agriculture Night matchup.
Prior to the game, Justin Dean takes time to speak with us. His insight on his fitness, along with game, season, individual, and team preparation provide insight to how the Stripers are setting up for success for tonight's game and the season (view the video/interview below):
Game Highlights: The Gwinnett Stripers (9-13) earn an 8-0 shutout win over the Norfolk Tides (12-10)
Gwinnett would get the first run of the game in the bottom of the 2nd on a 2-out RBI single by catcher Chadwick Tromp gives the Stripers an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, they would generate a 1-out rally to get the bases loaded. A sacrifice fly by John Nogowski would make it 2-0, but the Tides' first baseman Patrick Dorian's snap of a screaming line drive off the bat of Greyson Jenista would end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, the euphoria of Justin Dean's double is slightly muted as Chadwick Tromp is thrown out at home plate on a solid relay from Norfolk's Jahmai Jones (left fielder) and Cadyn Grenier (shortstop). Zac Lowther's strikeout to end the inning would halt any run-scoring ideas the Stripers have in mind for the inning.
Gwinnett would position themselves for a big inning in the bottom of the 5th off Norfolk pitcher Connor Greene (as he replaces Lowther). After working the bases loaded with nobody out, Greene would show some wildness by uncorking a wild pitch and a balk, plating 2 runs for the Stripers to increase their lead to 4-0. A sacrifice fly by Delino DeShields, Jr. would add to the lead (making it 5-0); another wild pitch would setup Justin Dean's infield RBI single, giving the Stripers a 6-0 lead.
Dean would wreak havoc on the basepaths with a steal of 2nd base and then a few pitches later, forcing the Tides' Greene into an errant pickoff attempt (and having him reach 3rd base), but the inning would end with Gwinnett generating a 4-run inning.
Given the 2 inherited runners who score off Greene, Norfolk's Zac Lowther is charged with 4 runs (all earned) and 8 hits with 3 strikeouts/3 walks in 4 innings of work. Green would only last an inning (allowing 2 earned runs on 1 hit, while striking out 3 batters).
In the bottom of the 7th, the Tides' wild pitch woes continue.
Ofelky Peralta's errant pitch puts Gwinnett's Delino DeShields, Jr. and Greyson Jenista on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Justin Dean would contribute a RBI groundout to give the Stripers a 7-0 lead. Phil Gosselin's RBI single would increase the lead to 8-0.
Seth Elledge (2 IP with 4 strikeouts) evens his record at 1-1. While not pitching enough innings (4) to get the win, Johnstone's solid effort (4 IP, allowing 4 hits with 2 strikeouts/1 walk) sets the tone for the pitching staff in getting the shutout. Justin Dean (2 for 4 with 2 RBI's and a stolen base), Chadwick Tromp (2 for 4 with 1 RBI), along with RBI's from Phil Gosselin, John Nogowski, and Delino DeShields, Jr. lead the offense.
Other than Robert Neustrom's 2 for 4 effort, the Norfolk offense is ineffective against Gwinnett's standout pitching effort.
Lowther's record drops to 0-3.
The series concludes April 30th at 7:05pm EST.
As for tonight, Gwinnett "grows" a victory on Agriculture Night and sets off a few fireworks in the process.
Notes: Video is recorded by Andrew Snorton. Photos are captured by Andrew Snorton and EmoryRose Photography.
For the complete boxscore, click HERE.
Video 1: Justin Dean joins us for pregame (interview).
Video 2: A few highlights celebrating Agriculture Night and the ceremonial first pitch.
Photo grid 1 (Andrew Snorton): Pre-game photos include (in order) Gwinnett's Justin Dean, members of the Norfolk Tides warming up, Gwinnett's Ryan Goins, the tractor (for Agriculture Night), prep for the ceremonial first pitch, the Alford Elementary School vocal ensemble (performing the national anthem), and members of the starting lineup for the Stripers for the presentation of the flags.
Photo grid 2 (EmoryRose Photography): The top row includes (from left to right) Gwinnett's Braden Shewmake at the plate, Hernan Perez, and Shewmake (called safe after running out an infield single). The next row features Gwinnett first baseman John Nogowski making a play in the field, Chadwick Tromp hustling home (he would be called out), and Justin Dean getting in scoring position. The third row includes Pat Valaika scoring, Justin Dean advancing to third on an errant pickoff move, and Chadwick Tromp at the plate. The bottom row includes Roswell, GA native and Tides' infielder/outfielder Jahmal Jones at the plate, along with Gwinnett's Delino DeShields, Jr. and Pat Valaika at the plate.