NORFOLK, Va. (Tides Media Relations) – Norfolk used a strong outing from three relievers and two clutch hits to edge the Gwinnett Stripers 3-2 Tuesday night at Harbor Park.
The Tides got on the board in the first inning, as Steve Wilkerson hit an opposite-field solo homer off of Kolby Allard (5-3), the #6 prospect in the Atlanta organization. Wilkerson, who later doubled and scored, has now driven in a run in six consecutive games with the Tides, registering seven RBI over that span.
Forced into making a spot start after a late scratch to scheduled starter Jimmy Yacabonis, Joely Rodriguez allowed one run on three hits while matching a season-high with four innings of work. Rodriguez struck out three without walking a batter, throwing 36 of his 48 pitches for strikes in his first starting outing since the 2015 campaign. The only run he surrendered came in the fourth inning, when Rio Ruiz plated Michael Reed with a two-out single.
Rodriguez gave way to Reid Love (1-0), who was making his Triple-A debut after being called up from Double-A Bowie earlier Tuesday. Love was tremendous, allowing a run on three hits over four innings of relief, throwing 36 of his 50 pitches to earn the victory. He became the first Tides pitcher to earn a win in his Triple-A debut since Jordan Kipper accomplished the feat on 5/12/17.
The Stripers held a 2-1 advantage headed to the bottom of the sixth before Norfolk put together the game-winning rally. Wilkerson ignited the inning with a one-out double, and DJ Stewart followed with a walk to put runners on first and second. After a strikeout, Pedro Álvarez hit a double off the warning track in right field, plating both runners and giving the Tides a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
Ryan Meisinger capped the contest by striking out a pair in a scoreless ninth, earning his first Triple-A save and giving Norfolk its third straight victory.
The Tides will go for the four-game series sweep on Wednesday afternoon at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 12:05. John Means (3-1, 3.79) is set to start for Norfolk and will be opposed by right-hander Wes Parsons (3-1, 2.83).