The Gwinnett Braves lost their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion, as the Durham Bulls plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth to come away with a 2-1 victory at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
The G-Braves struck in the top of the ninth inning, when Joe Leonard drove in the game’s first run on fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the inning, the Bulls responded with two unearned runs against reliever Andrew Russell (0-1) for the walk-off win. With the bases loaded and none out, Brandon Guyer hit a ground ball to shortstop Scott Kazmar, who misplayed the ball, allowing two runners to score.
Russell picked up the loss, allowing two unearned runs without recording an out.
Before the final inning, the night belonged to the starting pitchers. Braves right-hander Omar Poveda was stellar in his first start of the season, tossing six scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two and striking out four.
His opponent, right-hander Jake Odorizzi, worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, two walks and striking out eight.
Both starters did not factor in the decision, as the game went scoreless until the ninth inning.
Lueke (1-0) picked up the victory, tossing one inning, allowing one unearned run, walking one and striking out two.
Cunningham led the G-Braves, as he went 2 for 4 with two singles.
The Gwinnett Braves (4-1) and Durham Bulls (4-1) square off in Game 2 of the three-game series at 7:05 tonight at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Sean Gilmartin (1-0, 1.80) will be making his second start of the season for the Braves while Alex Torres will make his season debut for the Bulls.