Written by Ian Locke
Norfolk plated three runs in the eighth inning to rally past the Gwinnett Braves 7-6 in front of 7,064 fans Saturday night at Harbor Park.
Trailing 4-2, Jason Pridie ignited the eighth inning rally with a single up the middle off of reliever Dusty Hughes (0-1). After a walk to L.J. Hoes, Russ Canzler reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases with nobody out, and Hughes followed by uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Pridie to score, pulling the Tides within one. One batter later, Danny Valencia singled home Hoes to knot the score, and Yamaico Navarro capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to give the Tides the lead.
Jairo Asencio then worked a perfect ninth inning to register his third save of the season. Asencio has now retired all 12 batters he’s faced this season, including five by strikeout.
With the win, Norfolk evened its record at 5-5, the first time the Tides have been at .500 this season.
The Tides had jumped out to an early lead on the strength of two-run home runs by Pridie and Hoes. Pridie, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, also homered in Friday night’s contest at Durham.
Norfolk led 4-2 going to the seventh, but Gwinnett rallied with four runs off of Rob Delaney to take the lead. The big blow of the frame was a two-out, three-run home run by Ernjesto Mejia, the fourth straight game in which the 2012 IL Rookie of the Year has homered.
Tides starter Zach Britton did not factor in the decision despite allowing two runs – one earned – on six hits in 5.2 innings of work. Britton walked one and struck out two, with 15 of the 17 outs he recorded coming by way of a groundout.
Daniel Schlereth (1-0) earned his first victory of 2013 by working a scoreless eighth inning.
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