By Josh Cook
It was a night of sacrifice for the Louisville Bats.
The Bats scored all of their runs via the sacrifice fly as they beat the Gwinnett Braves 3-2 Saturday at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Louisville scored two runs in the second inning and one in the fourth, while also getting a solid start from Matt Maloney, to cap off the week with its sixth win in seven games. Moreover the victory, the 16th in 21 games for the Bats (52-50), moved them two games above .500 for the first time since they were 3-1 on April 11.
Louisville mustered only five hits against Gwinnett starter Mike Minor and three relievers, but made the most of them.
In the second Minor (3-1) walked Todd Frazier to start the inning. Wladimir Balentien's double moved Frazier to third before back-to-back sacrifice flies - by Chris Valaika and Michael Griffin - scored Frazier, then Balentien to make it 2-0.
The Braves tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Hicks' one-out solo home run accounted for the first run, while a throwing error by Bats third baseman Juan Francisco scored the second.
Francisco made amends for his error when he led off the fourth with a double to left field. He moved to third on Frazier's fly out, then scored on Balentien's sac fly.
In the bottom of the inning Gwinnett threatened, putting runners on second and third with just one out, but Maloney got out of the jam on a pair of fly outs.
The Braves put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but once again Maloney got out of the inning unscathed thanks to a pop out and a fly out.
It was a common trend for Maloney (8-5), who won his second straight start since a brief stay with the parent Cincinnati Reds, by inducing 10 fly outs and five ground outs.
Gwinnett didn't manage another baserunner the rest of the game.
Maloney gave up two runs, only one was earned, on eight hits while walking one and striking out five over 6 2/3 innings. Recently-signed Russ Springer struck out one over 1 1/3 innings, while Jared Burton pitched a perfect ninth for his third save of the season.
Frazier followed up his 3-for-5 performance on Friday with two hits Saturday.
The two teams meet at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the third game of the series. After the fourth game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Monday night the Bats return home at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night against Charlotte.