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AJ Smith-Shawver Shines as Gwinnett Splits Doubleheader with Durham

By Jack Johnson

Gwinnett Stripers

Atlanta Braves No. 1 prospect AJ Smith-Shawver turned in his best start of the season on Wednesday night, tossing 5.0 scoreless innings and striking out five as the Gwinnett Stripers (13-15) took game one of a doubleheader 5-0 over Durham. The Bulls (11-18) earned a split in game two, clobbering four home runs to win 6-2 at Coolray Field.


Decisive Plays (Game 1): David Fletcher flared an RBI single to right field in the first inning to cash in a double from J.P. Martinez as Gwinnett took a 1-0 lead. The Stripers steadily increased their lead to 3-0 entering the fifth inning, where Yuli Gurriel collected his first RBI with Gwinnett on a single up the middle. Grant Holmes retired Durham in order in the seventh to secure the game one victory. 


Decisive Plays (Game 2): A two-run blast by Junior Caminero in the first inning for Durham set the stage for a powerful night at the plate from the Bulls. The 2-0 lead would expand for the visitors on back-to-back homers from Gionti Turner and Jonny DeLuca in the top of the third. Alejo Lopez found his home run swing on a solo shot (1) to right field in the fourth inning to make it 4-1. Caminero struck again with another two-run homer (6) in the fifth inning to pad the lead to 6-1. 


Key Contributors: Gurriel tallied five hits across the two games, including a 3-for-3 performance in game two. Martinez, Fletcher, and Leury Garcia all collected two-hit outings in game one. Sebastian Rivero went 3-for-3 with a double in game two. Smith-Shawver (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO) was spectacular, at one point touching 100 MPH with his fastball. For Durham, Caminero homered twice in game two and also doubled in the first contest. 


Noteworthy: The home run for Lopez snapped a 10-game homer drought for Gwinnett, dating back to a solo shot by Sandy Leon on April 17 against Memphis. The Stripers recorded their third shutout victory of the season and first since April 3 vs. Louisville. Smith-Shawver turned in his second scoreless start of 5.0 innings or longer as a Striper, and his first since firing 5.0 scoreless frames against Norfolk on July 23, 2023. 


Next Game (Thursday, May 2): Gwinnett vs. Durham, 7:05 p.m. ET at Coolray Field. Broadcast: 6:50 p.m. ET on and Bally Live. LHP Dylan Dodd (2-1, 3.49 ERA) will start for Gwinnett against RHP Jacob Waguespack (0-1, 9.00 ERA) for Durham. It is Michelob Ultra Thirsty Thursday at Coolray Field, as fans age 21 and older can get select 12-ounce domestic beers for just $2 each. It's also Generation Gap night, as the Stripers celebrate our differences and commonalities through baseball.  


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