Park and ride to victory: Hoy Park's game winner gives Gwinnett an 11-10 win over Norfolk
Preview: Norfolk Tides (58-31, 1st place International League East) vs Gwinnett Stripers (39-51, 14.5 GB International League West)
The July 19th game between the Norfolk Tides (AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) and Gwinnett Stripers (AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) is a matinee day (12pm EST start), making it accessible for youth (grades K-12) as their summer break is gradually winding down.
What isn't winding down is the gameplay of the Tides; with a 9.5 game lead in their division and coming off a series opening 12-1 win (on July 18th), they are looking to build momentum for the second half of the season. On offense, McDonough, GA product Daz Cameron (.270 BA with 12 HR/46RBI's/19 SB), Lewin Diaz (.241 BA with 12HR/43 RBI's), Josh Lester (.273 BA with 19HR/62 RBI's), and Connor Norby (.282 BA with 13 HR/59 RBI's) look to continue putting offensive pressure on Gwinnett. Starting pitcher Justin Armbruester (1-1, 3.44 ERA) looks to shut down Gwinnett's offense and give the team a 2-0 series lead.
The Stripers' (and Wake Forest University product) Jared Shuster (2-3, 6.49 ERA at Gwinnett), who has seen time with the Braves this season, draws the start. He'll look for help on offense from Joe Dunand (.298 BA with 13 HR/33 RBI's), Vaughn Grissom (.320 BA with 35 RBI's and 11 SB's), and Braden Shewmake (.233 BA with 11 HR/44 RBI's), to even the series at 1 game apiece.
Game highlights as Gwinnett outlasts Norfolk 11-10 to even the series at 1-win apiece
The Tides waste little time scoring.
In the top of the first, leadoff batter Ryan McKenna drills a solo homerun to centerfield (his second on the season/with the Tides) off the Stripers' Jared Shuster, giving Norfolk an early 1-0 lead. Coby Mayo would add a RBI single, and a well-driven sacrifice fly to deep left-center by Ceaser Prieto would make it a 3-0 advantage for the Tides.
Gwinnett would work the bases loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the first, but Justin Armbruester induces an inning-ending groundout by Joe Hudson to halt the Stripers' scoring effort.
Dalton Guthrie's RBI single in the bottom of the second gets Gwinnett on the scoreboard (3-1). Braden Shewmake's line drive directly hits Armbruester and results in a base hit to load the bases (he would stay in the game). Vaughn Grissom's RBI single would draw the team within a run (3-2). Yolmer Sanchez would draw a bases loaded walk to tie the game (3-3).
Noah Denoyer would be called from the bullpen to quell the Stripers' rally (as Armbruester would go 1.2 innings and get charged with 6 runs (all earned) on 8 hits with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks). However, in the bottom of the 3rd inning, the Stripers' offense would add 4 runs sparked by a throwing error by Denoyer on Magneruris Sierra's bunt; while making the throw to 3rd base is initially a good idea, the base is uncovered and plates 2 runs for Gwinnett. Once followed by a 2 RBI single by Vaughn Grissom, Gwinnett would close out the inning with a 7-3 lead.
The Tide, however, would not go away.
In the top of the 4th inning, a RBI single by Connor Norby and a 2 RBI double by Heston Kjerstad helps Norfolk close the gap to a 7-6 advantage for Gwinnett. The scoring would continue in the bottom half of the 4th, as Joe Hudson's solo blast gives the Stripers an 8-6 lead.
An 8th inning error by the Tides' Cesar Prieto on a fielder's choice by Joshua Fuentes allows Joe Hudson to score, giving Gwinnett a 9-6 lead. Easton Lucas' wild pitch plates the Stripers' Hoy Park to add to the lead (10-6).
In the top of the 9th inning, just as they did in the top of the 4th inning, the Tides simply would not go away.
Norfolk's Coby Mayo would drive in 2 runs (with his double off Gwinnett's Grant Holmes) to cut into the Stripers' lead (10-8). Cesar Prieto would make up for his error in the previous inning with a 2 RBI double of his own (off Holmes) to tie the game at 10. Not to be outdone, the Stripers would load the bases in the bottom of the 9th against Tides' reliever Wandisson Charles. Gwinnett's Hoy Park would deposit the game winning single to right field to give the Stripers an 11-10 win and even the series at 1-win apiece.
Vaughn Grissom (2 for 6 with 3 RBI's), Dalton Guthrie (2 for 4 with a RBI), and Hoy Park (3 for 4 with a RBI) are among those who lead Gwinnett's 13 hit offensive attack. Despite the challenging 9th inning, Grant Holmes (1 IP, allowing 4 runs (all earned) on 3 hits and 2 walks) would improve to 4-2 on the season. Coby Mayo (3 for 5 with 3 RBI's), Cesar Prieto (2 for 4 with 3 RBI's), and Heston Kjerstad (3 for 5 with 2 RBI's) set the tone for the Norfolk offense (as they have scored 22 total runs in the first 2 games of the series). Charles would take the loss in today's game (0.1 IP while allowing a run on 2 hits with 1 strikeout/2 walks).
The series resumes tomorrow (July 20, 2023) as Max Fried is expected to start for the Gwinnett Stripers (and possibly return to the Atlanta Braves' roster based on his performance); the series concludes on Sunday, July 23, 2023.
Notes: All video is recorded by Andrew Snorton. For the complete box score, click HERE.