The Gwinnett Braves (4-0) utilized a pair of solo home runs by designated hitter Jordan Parraz to complete the sweep of the Charlotte Knights (0-4) on Sunday afternoon in Lawrenceville. Parraz went 2 for 3 with blasts in the fourth and sixth innings to lead Gwinnett to a 6-2 win in front of 5,204 fans at Coolray Field.
No G-Brave homered more than once in a home game at Coolray Field last season, but Parraz became already the second Gwinnett hitter to do so this season. Ernesto Mejia homered twice in game one of the doubleheader against the Knights on Saturday night.
The G-Braves got off to another great start, scoring twice in the bottom of the second inning. Third baseman Joe Leonard doubled in Todd Cunningham, who singled to start the frame. After a groundout advanced Leonard to third, he came around to score on wild pitch by Knights’ starter Simon Castro.
In the fourth, Parraz added to the lead with a solo shot down the left field line, making it 3-0.
G-Braves’ starter Tim Corcoran (1-0) capitalized on the early lead, breezing in his season debut. The veteran right-hander hurled five innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits, walking four and striking out four.
The Gwinnett lead increased to 4-0 in the sixth thanks again to Parraz. He led off the inning with another solo home run to left, again off of Castro.
Castro (0-1) exited with four runs on six hits over six innings and five strikeouts. The Knights’ offense struggled to support him; for the second-straight game, Charlotte scored in just one frame.
In the top of the seventh, the Knights took advantage of a misplayed ball by Leonard at third to score twice. Seth Loman led the inning off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Luis Durango. After Durango stole second base, reliever Cole McCurry induced an inning-ending groundout, but it went right through the legs of Leonard, resulting in two unearned runs. McCurry avoided further damage with a fly out to end the frame.
The G-Braves added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a bases-loaded single by Cunningham. With a four run lead, the bullpen would take care of the rest. McCurry tossed two innings, allowing two unearned runs on two hits, while Cory Rasmus picked up the save, hurling two scoreless frames and striking out two.
The Gwinnett pitching staff was sharp in their first homestand of the season, allowing 11 runs, nine earned and striking out 32 in 32 innings of baseball.
On the day, Parraz led the way, going 2 for 3 with two homers and two RBIs, while Cunningham added a 2-for-4 performance and two RBIs.
The Knights were limited to four hits on the day. Loman was sharp again for Charlotte, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Former G-Brave Durango added one of the other two Knights’ hits.
Following a 4-0 opening homestand, the Gwinnett Braves now venture to Durham, NC for the start of a seven-game road trip. Game 1 of a three-game series against the Durham Bulls is scheduled for 6:05 tonight at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Right-hander Omar Poveda will make his season debut for Gwinnett, while right-hander Jake Odorizzi will start for the Bulls.