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Home opener hype is halted: the Bats spoil the home opener for the Stripers with a 2-1 win

Preview: Louisville Bats (2-1, 0.5 GB of 1st place in the International West Division) vs the Gwinnett Stripers (2-1, 0.5 GB of 1st place in the International West Division)

Tonight's regular season matchup is more than a divisional battle between the AAA affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds (the visiting Louisville Bats) and the Atlanta Braves (the hosting Gwinnett Stripers). And it's more than the opening game of a 6-game series at CoolRay Field (April 2, 2024 with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm EST).

It's the home opener for the Stripers.

Gwinnett starting pitcher Allan Winans (a member of the Braves' 40-man roster) looks to contain Louisville offensive leaders Rece Hinds (.300 batting average with 2 home-runs and 4 runs batted in after 3 games) and Hernan Perez (.182 BA with 2 HR and 4 RBI's), who not only has seen time at the Major League level, but played with the Stripers in 2022.

The Stripers look to set a solid offensive tone against the Bats' starter, Connor Phillips (a 2020 3rd round pick of the Seattle Mariners/64th overall and acquired via trade). Gwinnett outfielder J.P. Martinez (.455 BA with 2 HR, 3 RBI's, and 3 stolen bases over 3 games) and teammate Andrew Velazquez (.375 BA with 3 RBI's in 2 games) are among the team's leaders on offense.

Prior to the game, starting pitcher Darius Vines (who starts the team's season opener) shares his insights in our pregame interview. A member of the Braves' 40-man roster, he notes his areas of focus, team chemistry, and related topics to help get off to a good start during the season (you may watch the full interview below):

Game highlights: Louisville edges Gwinnett 2-1

Once the home opener roster and lineups are announcement, its game time.

Gwinnett would take an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After J.P. Martinez leads off the inning with a triple, David Fletcher's RBI groundout gives them the lead.

Louisville would have a breakthrough against Stripers' starter Allan Winans (who goes 5.2 innings, allowing 2 runs [both earned] on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk). Mike Ford (who has played with Gwinnett among other Major and Minor league teams) launches a solo home-run (his first of the season) to tie the game. Connor Capel would follow a few batters later to hit a solo shot of his own (his first of the season) to give the Bats a 2-1 lead over Gwinnett.

Thanks to solid pitching efforts by both teams, neither team scores, resulting in a 2-1 win for the Bats.

Starting pitcher Connor Phillips earns his first win of the season (6 IP, allowing 1 run [earned] on 4 hits, with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks). Mike Ford (2 for 4 with a solo homer) and Connor Capel (2 for 3 with a solo homer) provide the offense for the Bats.

J.P. Martinez (2 for 4) and David Fletcher (1 for 3 with a RBI) account for the Stripers' offense.

The teams resume their series on April 3, 2024 at 7:05pm.

Notes: All photos and video are recorded by CCSLLC; make sure to subscribe to our season playlist (click HERE for all video). You may read the boxscore by clicking HERE.


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