Sims Superb as G-Braves Blank Charlotte 9-0
Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims fires career-high 8.0 scoreless innings
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – On “Superhero Night” at Coolray Field, Gwinnett Braves starting pitcher Lucas Sims proved to be marvelous, tossing the longest outing of his professional career to lead the G-Braves (31-30) to a 9-0 win over the Charlotte Knights (27-34) in front of an energetic crowd of 6,314 on Saturday night.
Sims (W, 5-3) gave up just three hits and two walks while striking out seven over 8.0-plus scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season and first since May 14. The offense backed his strong start with two late outbursts to give the G-Braves their second win out of three games against Charlotte.
From the start, the game was a pitcher’s duel between Sims and Charlotte’s Lucas Giolito (L, 2-6). Each pitcher retired the first six batters he faced over the first two innings before each gave up a base runner in a scoreless third.
Sims surrendered the first Charlotte hit of the game with two outs in the fifth as Jason Bourgeois singled to center and stole second. However, the Knights would not score as Sims struck out Roberto Pena to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, Giolito issued a leadoff walk to David Freitas, but induced a double play ground ball from Braeden Schlehuber to end the inning.
The G-Braves used strong defense to keep the game scoreless in the sixth. Everth Cabrera led off with a bunt single, but was promptly thrown out by Schlehuber as he tried to steal second. Yoan Moncada and Jacob May followed with a walk and a single, respectively. Sims got through the threat by inducing a double play from Nicky Delmonico to end the inning.
Gwinnett would finally get Sims some run support in the bottom of the seventh.
Matt Tuiasosopo led off the inning with a towering home run 427 feet to center field, his fifth of the season, to give the G-Braves a 1-0 lead. Three hitters later, with Kyle Kubitza on second base with two outs, the G-Braves would get another run. Schlehuber hit a ground ball up the middle and hustled to beat the play at first. On the play, Kubitza charged around third and beat a close play at the plate for Gwinnett’s second run. The G-Braves’ third run would come in similar fashion as Schlehuber dove around a tag at the plate to score on a single from Jace Peterson to put Gwinnett ahead 3-0 after seven.
In the eighth, Sims retired the Knights in order to set a new career-high for innings pitched. His previous career-high was 7.1 innings for Double-A Mississippi on July 23, 2016 at Tennessee.
Gwinnett would blow the game open in the bottom of the eighth against the Charlotte bullpen, sending 10 hitters to the plate and scoring six runs. Kubitza, Schlehuber and Peterson all tallied RBI singles, and Xavier Avery highlighted the inning with a two-run double.
After Sims walked the leadoff man in the ninth, the G-Braves turned to Rhiner Cruz, and the reliever retired the next three hitters to end the game and finish Gwinnett’s fourth shutout of the season.
Kubitza highlighted Gwinnett’s 12-hit attack with a 3-for-4 game that included two runs scored and an RBI. Peterson and Schlehuber each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
For Charlotte, Moncada drew a pair of walks while the rest of the team was limited to three singles in the loss.
The G-Braves and Knights wrap up the four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field, first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Aaron Blair (3-3, 5.67) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett, while Charlotte counter with rehabbing Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon. Dave Lezotte has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 12:35 p.m
As part of Sunday Funday (sponsored by Georgia United Credit Union), fans are invited to play catch on the field before the game at approximately 12:05 p.m. Following the game, kids ages 12 and under are welcome to run the bases.. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.