The Stripers "school" the Tides for a 7-6 late game win on Education Day
Preview: Norfolk Tides (11-7) vs Gwinnett Stripers (6-12)
School is in session.
Given most schools in the Metro-Atlanta area end the year closer to Memorial Day Weekend, classes are still in session. However, today's series opener between the Norfolk Tides (the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) and the hometown Gwinnett Stripers (the AAA affiliate of the 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves) is Education Day (as a number of area school bring students in grades K-12 to enjoy a scheduled 11:05am first pitch).
The Tides are tied for first place in the International League's Eastern Division. The offense is led by Ryan Bannon (.321 bating average with 2 home-runs and 10 runs batted, along with a co-team leading 3 stolen bases), Tyler Nevin (a team high .382 batting average with 2 home-runs and a team leading 15 RBI's), Jacob Nottingham (.333 BA), and Kyler Stowers (.278 BA). Starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez (2-0 with a 1.26 ERA) looks to build off his outstanding start to the season (as he has 23 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched), and Roswell, GA native Jahmai Jones (.224 BA with 5 RBI's) looks to elevate his play in front of the hometown fans.
At 6-12, the Stripers are in last place, 7 games behind the International League West Division leading Nashville Sounds, so getting off to a good start can set the tone for the series as they battle back to reaching the .500 mark. Starting pitcher Jasseel De La Cruz (0-2 with an 8.22 ERA) tries to get on track, while the offense led by Braden Shewmake (.302 BA), Pat Valaika (.279 BA with 2 homeruns and 12 RBI's), and Phil Gosselin (.260 BA) look to set the tone for the offense.
Outfielder Ronald Acuna (rest), who is currently rehabbing with Gwinnett, is not available.
Highlights: The Gwinnett Stripers (7-12) defeat the Norfolk Tides (11-8) by a 7-6 score
The Tides open up the scoring in the top of the 1st, thanks to a RBI double by Tyler Nevin and a RBI via a bases loaded walk to Brett Cumberland, as this knocks out Stripers' starter Jasseel De La Cruz after 2/3 of an inning (0.2 IP, 2 earned runs, while allowing 3 walks).
Gwinnett would respond in the bottom of the first off starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.
A 2-RBI double by Preston Tucker followed by a RBI single by William Contreras gives the Stripers a 3-2 lead.
Norfolk retakes the lead in the top of the 2nd inning thanks to a 2-run blast to deep right by Kyle Stowers (his 3rd of the season). Afterwards, the pitching staffs for both teams would settle down until the bottom of the 5th inning.
After chasing the Tides' Rodriguez (4 IP, allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts/1 walk), Delino DeShields, Jr's 2-RBI single along with a passed ball (which plates William Contreras) gives the Stripers at 6-4 advantage.
However, the Tides didn't exactly go away. By chipping away at the lead in the top of the 7th on a solo shot by Robert Neustrom and a rocket (homerun) to left field by Jahmai Jones in the top of the 9th, Norfolk ties the game (6-6).
The Stripers would strike with a double by Phil Gosselin (who reaches 3rd base due to an error). Two batters later, team RBI leader Pat Valaika's (2 for 3 with 1 RBI) sacrifice fly would given Gwinnett a 7-6 win to open the series.
Preston Tucker (2 for 3 with 2 RBI's), William Contreras (2 for 2 with 1 RBI), and Delino DeShields Jr (1 for 4 with 2 RBI's) lead Gwinnett (Michael Tonkin is the winning pitcher, notching his first win of the season).
Norfolk's Robert Neustrom (3 for 3 with a solo homer, his 4th of the season), Jahmai Jones (2 for 5 with a solo home run, his 2nd of the season), and Kyle Stowers (1 fo 5 with a home run and 2 RBI's) set the tone for the offense. Nick Vespi takes the loss (his first of the season/0-1 overall).
The series resumes on Wednesday, April 27th, at 7:05pm (and the 5-game series concludes on Saturday, April 30th).
In addition to "getting schooled", you may keep track of the team's schedule (click HERE).
Notes: All photography and video recorded by Andrew Snorton. For the complete box score, click HERE.
Video information: All 3 videos provide snapshots of both teams during the first half of the ballgame.
Photos: The first grid provides some looks at pre-game, including the K-12 audience in attendance for Education Day.
The second grid includes Norfolk's Kyle Stowers and Gwinnett's Braden Shewmake (top), Delino DeShields, Jr (Gwinnet) and Norfolk in the field (second row), the Stripers' Pat Valaika and the Tides scoring a run, and Justin Dean and Preston Tucker (Gwinnett/bottom row).
The third grid shows William Contreras (Gwinnett) at the plate and the team celebrating their 7-6 in in the bottom of the 9th.