Max makes his return to the mound; Gwinnett returns to its winning ways with an 8-1 win over Omaha
Pregame: Omaha Storm Chasers (41-41, 8.5 GB in the International League West) vs Gwinnett Stripers (36-49, 15 GB in the International League West)
The concluding game of the 6-game series between the Gwinnett Stripers and the Omaha Storm Chasers finds the Stripers holding a 3-1 series edge before (the July 8th game is cancelled due to wet grounds) they head into the All-Star Break. In today's game, many eyes are likely looking at today's (July 9, 2023) starter, Max Fried; as one of the Atlanta Braves' top starters, he begins his rehab assignment in looking to rejoin the big-league team not too long after the break. Gwinnett's offense is paced by Joe Dunand (.310 BA with 13 HR and 32 RBI's), Vaughn Grissom (.313 BA with 31 RBI's), Luke Williams (9 RBI's and 9 SB's in 24 games with the Stripers), and Braden Shewmake (.235 BA with 10 HR and 41 RBI's) as they look to close out the series on a winning note.
Omaha (the top minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals) looks to win for the second time this series with offensive punch from Angelo Castellano (.254 BA with 28 RBI's), Tyler Gentry (.232 BA with 48 RBI's), and Logan Porter (.274 BA with 34 RBI's). Starting pitcher Angel Zerpa (0-1 with a 6.23 ERA) looks to slow down the Stripers' offense (which is held to 1 run in the team's 7-1 win on Friday).
Prior to today's game, Gwinnett's Justus Sheffield joins us. In our conversation, he not only shares his love for the game and insight for younger players, but notes his individual and team growth for the 2023 season (you may watch the full interview below):
In-game highlights: Gwinnett's 8-run propels them to an 8-1 win and take 4 of the 5 games in the series
While on a pitch count (35 pitches), Max Fried provides Gwinnett with a solid tone-setter as he goes 1.1 innings (allowing 1 hit with 2 walks and a strikeout).
Both teams' pitching staffs match each other with 5-plus scoreless innings and allowing a combined 5 hits. However, Gwinnett would break the game open in the bottom of the 6th inning.
The Stripers mount the first serious scoring threat as they have the bases loaded with one out against Omaha's Brad Keller. Keller (who would end up as the losing pitcher, as in 0.1 IP, he's charged with 6 runs (4 earned) on 1 hit with 4 walks and a hit batsman) hits batter Joe Hudson on a 3-1 pitch to give the Stripers the lead (1-0) and would walk 2 consecutive batters to make it a 3-0 game.
Walter Pennington (0.2 IP, allowing 2 runs (unearned) on 1 hit with a strikeout and walk) would relive Keller for the Storm Chasers; Gwinnett's Magneruis Sierra's subsequent hot shot to 3rd baseman Nate Eaton is mishandled (error), leading to another run for the Stripers (4-0). Luke Williams' fielder's choice adds another run for Gwinnett to expand their lead to 5-0. The bases would reload with 2 outs and Pennington's wild pitch allows Gwinnett's Daniel Robertson to score (6-0). Jesus Aguilar would keep the inning going with a 2-RBI single to push the lead to 8-0.
In the top of the 7th inning, the Storm Chasers' Tucker Bradley would get the team in the scoring column with a RBI double (8-1). However, Gwinnett's defense would turn a triple-play to end any potential scoring threat and eventually, preserve the team victory.
Allan Winans (now 7-2) is the winning pitcher for Gwinnett. He pitches a solid 6 innings of relief (allowing 1 run (earned) on 2 hits along with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks) as the pitching staff allows 3 hits for the entire game. Jesus Aguiiar (1-4 with 2 RBI's) leads the offense, as 5 other players drive in a run apiece.
Other than Tucker Bradley (1 for 3 with 1 RBI), the Storm Chasers' offense has a minimal impact on the game.
Both teams are on the All-Star Break and resume their season on Friday; Gwinnett hits the road for a 3-game series in Memphis (July 14-16, 2023) while Omaha hosts a 2-game series (July 15-16, 2023) against Indianapolis.
Notes: All video recorded by Andrew Snorton.
Click HERE for the complete box score.