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Big First Inning Response Propels Stripers to 6-5 Win Over Memphis


The Gwinnett Stripers (8-8) got a bases-clearing three-run double from Sandy Leon in the first inning to cap a spirited rally from down 3-0 to up 4-3 and didn't look back, taking the series opener against the Memphis Redbirds (7-9) 6-5 on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.

 

Decisive Plays: Four consecutive hits for Memphis off Gwinnett starter Bryce Elder (W, 2-0) to lead off the game netted three quick runs as the Redbirds jumped in front 3-0, but the Stripers counterpunched with a four-run home half featuring the double by Leon. After a leadoff triple from Luke Waddell in the third inning, the Stripers made it 5-3 on an RBI groundout from Luke Williams. Williams struck again with a mammoth solo blast (3) in the seventh to pad the lead. A two-run homer with two outs in the ninth from Jared Young made it interesting at 6-5, but Ray Kerr (S, 2) closed the door to seal the win. 

 

Key Contributors: Though the beginning was turbulent, Elder (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) settled in and did not allow a run the rest of the way. Leon (1-for-3, double, 3 RBIs) featured in the first, while Williams (1-for-4, homer, 2 RBIs) made the difference late with what proved to be decisive insurance RBIs. For Memphis, Thomas Saggese (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Cesar Prieto (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) both featured in the Redbirds' big first inning. 

 

Noteworthy: Williams' home run in the seventh was just the second the Stripers have hit at home this season, with the previous being a solo homer from Andrew Velazquez on April 3 vs. Louisville. Stripers manager Kanekoa Texeira won his 200th game as a minor league skipper, and the win also represented the 999th ever for the Gwinnett franchise dating back to 2009. Elder turned in his second quality start of the season, and his 13th overall with Gwinnett. 

 

Next Game (Wednesday, April 17): Gwinnett vs. Memphis, 12:05 p.m. ET at Coolray Field. Broadcast: 11:50 a.m. ET on MyCountry993.com and Bally Live. RHP AJ Smith-Shawver (0-1, 18.00 ERA) will get the ball for Gwinnett against RHP Adam Kloffenstein (0-2, 8.03 ERA) for Memphis. It's the first Education Day matinee game this season at Coolray Field, as the Stripers welcome area students for a day of fun and baseball in an educational environment. 

 

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