LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the Durham Bulls, 6-5 on Saturday night at Coolray Field. Jose Yepez belted a one-out two-run homer, his second of the season, to erase a 5-4 deficit and provide the winning margin for the G-Braves. Jaye Chapman worked 2.2 scoreless innings for the win in relief.
The G-Braves entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing the Bulls, 5-4. With one out, Stefan Gartrell lifted his third hit of the game, a single, into center field. Yepez then delivered in the clutch as he lifted left-hander Cesar Ramos's 3-2 offering deep to left. The towering drive landed just fair, giving Gwinnett their first and only lead of the game at 6-5.
Yohan Flande worked 6.1 innings for Gwinnett, surrendering five runs on eight hits. The left-hander struck out four and walked two in a no-decision. Chapman entered the game with one out in the seventh and allowed one of two inherited runners to score on a single by Cole Figueroa that gave the Bulls a 5-4 lead. A second run nearly scored on the same hit, but Luis Durango threw to Yepez at the plate just in time to catch Reid Brignac. The outfield assist was Durango's team-leading ninth of the year.
Chapman (W, 3-4) struck out Craig Albernaz to end the seventh inning and then worked two more scoreless frames to pick up the win. The right-hander struck out Tim Beckham swinging to strand the tying run aboard in the ninth.
The game started much like Friday's contest as Durham scored three runs in the first inning. Rich Thompson reached to lead off the game as he was hit by a Flande pitch, then scored two batters later when Henry Wrigley drove him home with a double. Then, just like Friday night, a two-run homer raised the Durham lead to 3-0. This time, it was Brandon Allen leaving the yard to straightaway center for his fourth home run of the season.
The Bulls added a run in the fifth to boost their lead to 4-0. Allen led off the inning with a double, then scored when Brignac drove him home on a sacrifice fly to center.
Gwinnett finally responded with three runs of their own in a two-out rally in the fifth. Durango drew a walk, then stole his league-leading 30th base of the season. Constanza followed with an RBI double scoring Durango for the first run of the night. Following a Tyler Pastornicky walk, Christian Marrero deposited a double into left-center that scored two runs, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
The G-Braves tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth. Gartrell led off the inning with a double, later scoring on a two-out wild pitch from Durham's Frank De Los Santos.
Chris Archer made the start for Durham and lasted just 1.0 inning as he struck out one and walked one. Bryan Augenstein relieved the right-hander for 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. De Los Santos worked 1.1 innings and allowed one run on four hits. Ramos (L, 3-2) earned his second loss of the season as he allowed the go ahead two-run home run to Yepez.
Gwinnett's offense collected 10 total hits, with Gartrell's 3-for-4 effort and Constanza's 2-for-3 showing accounting for half of the production. Constanza extended his hitting streak to 14 games, tying Felix Pie and Barbaro Canizares for the longest hitting streak in Gwinnett franchise history.
Allen led the way for Durham, going 2-for-4 with the home run and two RBIs.
The Gwinnett Braves (42-49) conclude the series against the Durham Bulls (43-48) on Sunday afternoon. The first pitch at Coolray Field is scheduled for 2:05 PM. Right-hander Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.37) is set to start for the G-Braves against Bulls right-hander Lance Pendleton (4-2, 3.25). The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The television broadcast will air on CSS.
Sunday is Public Safety Day at Coolray Field, including Touch-a-Truck. Fans will get the opportunity to see awesome vehicles up close, including a fire truck, police car, ambulance and more. Sunday's community focus is on Youth Athletics as the G-Braves recognize organizations that promote youth athletics and activities during the game. Finally, it's another Family Sunday featuring pre-game catch in the outfield and a post-game base run for kids 12 and under.