Saturday, May 31, 2014


Story by Vincent Caffiero

SAVANNAH, Ga.- Sparked by Champ Stuart's speed and power, the Class-A Savannah Sand Gnats scored five runs in their final two turns at bat to come from behind to defeat the Rome Braves 6-2 Saturday night at Historic Grayson Stadium.

Trailing 2-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Gnats needed just two batters to take a 3-2 lead. LF Stefan Sabol led off the inning by crushing a triple to the wall in center field. When the Braves committed an error on the relay throw to third, Sabol hopped up and sprinted home with the tying run. The next batter, CF Champ Stuart roped a home run over the left field wall, for his first long ball as a Gnat and his second as a professional.

The Gnats (36-16) added three more runs in the eighth inning. Stuart drove home two with a bases-loaded single up the middle and the final run scored on RF Patrick Biondi's bases loaded walk.

Stuart finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI.

Savannah starter Robert Gsellman held the Braves to two runs, one earned through seven innings. He walked two and struck out four to lower his ERA to 2.27 and even his record at 3-3.

The Braves (16-39) took a short-lived 2-1 lead on CF Connor Lien's RBI double in the top of the seventh.

Savannah reliever Akeel Morris struck out all three batters he faced in the top of the eighth.

2B LJ Mazzilli was 2-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 10 straight games.

The Gnats hand the ball to RHP John Michael Gant (5-2, 2.49) against LHP Matt Marksberry (0-2, 3.86) in the series finale Sunday afternoon.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm. Gates to Historic Grayson Stadium open at 1 pm. The radio broadcast on News/Talk 630 WBMQ and begins at 1:45 pm.