Home Grayson Rodriguez shines in return to Norfolk: Tides win, 9-2, over Gwinnett
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Grayson Rodriguez shines in return to Norfolk: Tides win, 9-2, over Gwinnett

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The Norfolk Tides (39-17) defeated the Gwinnett Stripers (24-32), 9-2, on Saturday night at Harbor Park.

Grayson Rodriguez rejoined the Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, made his first start with Norfolk since Opening Day. On a colder night, Rodriguez was bringing the heat, holding the Stripers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Brave, scoreless in his six innings of work.

The Tides broke the scoring open in the home half of the second as five consecutive batters reached base to open the inning. Ben DeLuzio reached on an infield single to plate the game’s first run and was followed by a Shayne Fontana RBI double into the left-center gap. In his first game back in the lineup since May 16, Colton Cowser checked in with his second base knock of the game, bringing in two runs and extending the Tides lead to four.

Norfolk would crack the scoreboard again in the third when Lewin Díaz demolished a 2-1 pitch, depositing the ball far beyond the right field fence for a no-doubt solo home run, extending the Tides lead to 5-0.

The offensive momentum rolled over into the fourth as Jordan Westburg led off the frame with a double laced into right-center. After Joseph Rosa pulled a single to right, Westburg moved to third which set up a Daz Cameron sacrifice fly, putting even more distance between the Stripers and the Tides as the game came to a 6-0 score.

With one away in the bottom of the sixth, Connor Norby stepped up to the plate and drove a ball deep the opposite way. With the wind blowing out to right, the ball caught the breeze and carried over the wall for a solo home run, adding Norfolk’s seventh run.

Norby delivered with a two-RBI single in the seventh to bring the Norfolk total to nine. Nick Solak hit a two-run home run to eliminate the goose egg in Gwinnett’s run column, but that would be all they could muster in the final frame.

Game Notes

Grayson Rodriguez tossed six shutout innings, his longest outing of the year, allowing only one hit and five walks while striking out six…it is the fourth time he has pitched at least six shutout innings while allowing two hits or fewer in his career with the most recent game coming on May 27 last season when he tossed seven scoreless innings against Gwinnett, allowing two hits with no walks while striking out ten.

Connor Norby went 2-for-5 at the plate with a home run and three RBI…he has hit safely in 27 of his last 33 games (since April 28) and is batting .306 (45-for-147) with 25 runs scored, 15 doubles, four home runs, and 19 RBI in that span.

Next Up

Norfolk will finish the seven-game series against Gwinnett tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. The Tides are expected to send RHP Spenser Watkins (2-1, 7.11) to the mound and the Stripers will trot out RHP Beau Burrows (2-1, 5.50).

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].