HOOVER, Ala. - Tony Barnette was perfect through the first four innings on his way to a six-inning performance in the BayBears' 4-1 victory over the Birmingham Barons at Regions Park .
The only run that Barnette (2-3) surrendered came in the fifth inning when David Cook ended Barnette's no-hit bid with a lead-off home run. That tied the game at 1-1 after the BayBears (14-13) snatched an unearned run in the first inning thanks to an RBI double to left by Rusty Ryal.
In the sixth, the BayBear bats came to life and broke the tie with three runs. Cesar Nicolas was hit by a pitch to start the inning and took second on a single by Ryal. After a fielder's choice, Brandon Burgess slugged in Nicolas with a single to make it 2-1. John Hester followed that with a two-run double to bring home Frank Curreri and Burgess, giving the BayBears a 4-1 lead.
For the second straight night, the BayBears' bullpen proved to be reliable as Vince Bongiovanni, newcomer Jose Marte and Reid Mahon (S, 7) produced the final nine outs without allowing another score.
Hector Ambriz (2-2, 4.61) starts for the BayBears on Friday night as they try to claim sole possession of first place for the first time this season against the Barons (14-13) at 7:05 p.m. the BayBears return home on Saturday, May 10, to play the Jacksonville Suns at Hank Aaron Stadium. Call (251) 479-BEAR for tickets or log on to www.mobilebaybears.com.
- The BayBears are 3-3 when Barnette starts. In the three wins, Barnette has only allowed a total of three runs in 17 innings.
Marte was the first BayBear not on the opening day roster to appear in a ballgame this season.
This is the second time this season that the BayBears have been tied for first. They were tied on April 13 with a 5-5 record.
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