FORT MILL, S.C. -- After two starts at Gwinnett since being optioned from Atlanta on July 15, there was still reason to be concerned about young Randall Delgado. Those fears were put to rest Tuesday afternoon at Knights Stadium, as the right-hander dominantly pitched the G-Braves to a 7-2 win over the Charlotte Knights in the four-game series finale.
Delgado (W, 2-1) worked six strong innings for his second straight win, as he scattered five hits while giving up one earned run and one walk. Delgado also struck out 10 batters, including seven of the last 11 men he faced on Tuesday. The 10 strikeouts were two behind his career-high of 12 while with Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League of May, 2009.
The Knights jumped on Delgado early as Drew Garcia poked a one-out infield single in the bottom of the first, moved to second on a single to right by Brent Morel and scored on a single by Dan Johnson. The Knights were up 1-0 after one inning, but that would be the only run Delgado would surrender in the game.
The G-Braves took the lead in the top of the third off former Parkview High School star Anthony Carter. With one out, Brian Friday singled to left and moved to second on a groundout by J.C. Boscan. With two outs, Felix Pie singled to center scoring Friday from second to tie the game, 1-1. Pie then scored from first on a double to left by Josh Wilson for a 2-1 G-Braves lead.
Gwinnett padded the lead in the top of the fifth off reliever Brandon Kloess, when Boscan drew a two out walk, stole second base and scored on a single to center by Wilson, giving the G-Braves a 3-1 advantage.
Andy Russell relieved Delgado in the bottom of the seventh and allowed the Knights only other run. Former No. 1 pick of the Chicago White Sox, Jared Mitchell greeted Russell with a single to left, and then took third when Russell's pick-off attempt shot past Gwinnett first baseman Terry Tiffee. Tyler Saladino plated Mitchell from third with a groundout to first, cutting the Gwinnett lead, 3-2.
In the top of the ninth however, the G-Braves put the game away. Reliever Donnie Veal walked Josh Kroeger and Ruben Gotay with one out, as he gave way to Daniel Moskos from the bullpen. Moskos walked Friday to load the bases, then allowed Kroeger to score from third on a wild pitch, amping the lead to 4-2. Pie then drove in both Gotay and Friday with a single to center, boosting the lead to 6-2. A wild pitch moved Pie to third and an infield single by Wilson plated him with the seventh and final run of the game.
Carter (L, 2-5) worked two innings of relief for the loss giving up four hits and two earned runs. He stuck out one. Brian Bruney, pitching on a rehab assignment from the White Sox started the game and worked the first inning only with one hit and one strikeout. Kloess pitched 1.2 innings with two hits, one earned run, two walks and one strikeout. Former Gwinnett pitcher Deunte Heath worked 2.0 scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Veal was credited with 1.2 innings pitched, one hit, two earned runs, two walks and one strikeout. Moskos gave up two hits and one earned run and one walk and had one strikeout in 0.2 innings pitched.
The G-Braves (51-61) and Knights (63-49) finish their 22-game schedule against one another with a season split, 11 wins each.
Russell worked the seventh with one hit and one earned run and Dusty Hughes worked a scoreless eighth with one strikeout. Anthony Varvaro closed the game out with a scoreless ninth, allowing one walk, alongside three strikeouts.
Pie and Wilson paced Gwinnett with three hits and three RBIs each and Stefan Gartrell went 1-for-4 to increase his hitting streak to 11 games.
After an off day on Wednesday, the G-Braves open a four-game series in Durham, North Carolina against the Bulls. First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. as Yohan Flande (5-7, 4.17) will start for Gwinnett against the Bulls TBA (0-0, 0.00). Listen to the broadcast on AM 550/FM 102.9 WDUN in Gainesville with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.