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Braves farm gets swept, though several prospect hitters stay hot at the plate

Braves farm gets swept, though several prospect hitters stay hot at the plate

Tucker Davidson earned his first MLB win last night with a solid five-inning outing, allowing just three hits and no runs to go with three walks and three strikeouts. Atlanta’s offense came away with some big hits in the 3-0 victory over Milwaukee, and hopefully the team can keep it up for a bit. Boy could the Braves use a win streak right about now.

It was a night of celebration for Davidson and the Braves on Tuesday, but down on the farm… well… it wasn’t so great, as all four minor league affiliates lost its respective games. Here’s a recap of all the action from Tuesday…

AAA – Gwinnett (17-20)

L, 8-2 vs. Memphis

(P) Connor Johnstone – (L), 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB

(CF) Drew Waters – 2 for 5, 2B

(RF) Greyson Jenista – 2 for 3, 2B, R, BB

(2B) Ryan Goins – 1 for 3, 2 RBI 

It was a rough series opener for Gwinnett on Tuesday night as Memphis scored seven unanswered runs during the first four innings, thanks to five XBH in that span, including back to back home runs in the fourth.

Yep, that’s right – 15 homers for the Redbirds Nolan Gorman, tying him with fellow Cardinals farmhand Moisés Gómez, who plays for St. Louis’ Double-A affiliate. So the Stripers shouldn’t feel bad, for Gorman has been doing this a lot this season, and as a result, many are calling for his promotion to the majors.

Gwinnett’s offense finally got something going in the seventh. With two outs, Greyson Jenista slapped a double to left, and a batter later, Ryan Goins knocked him in with a ground ball single to right, at least putting the Stripers on the board. Both teams traded a run in the final frame – an RBI double for Memphis and another RBI for Goins, who popped up a sac-fly to score Hernan Perez.

The Stripers lineup just couldn’t really get anything going against the Redbirds starter, graduated prospect Johan Oviedo, who finished with six strikeouts in seven innings of work. And while starter Connor Johnstone and his replacement Brandyn Sittinger were both knocked around last night, Gwinnett’s bullpen actually pitched rather well, as the trio of Brandon Brennan, Thomas Burrows and Nick Vincent teamed up to toss five innings of four-hit ball, to go with one earned run and eight strikeouts. Hopefully the Stripers can bounce back on Wednesday, in what should be a game that features a traditional starter. Prospect Bryce Elder should be on the mound in Game 2.

AA – Mississippi (14-20)

L, 6–5 vs. Biloxi 

(P) Jared Shuster – (L), 2/3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB

(P) Coleman Huntley – 3 IP, 3 H, 3 K

(2B) Jalen Miller – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R

(1B) Drew Lugbauer – 2 for 5, 2B, R

(CF) Michael Harris II – 2 for 5, 2B, RBI, R

(DH) Riley Delgado – 2 for 3, RBI, R, BB

(C) Hendrick Clementina – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI

Despite getting only two outs total from its ace starter, the M-Braves nearly made an impressive comeback on Tuesday, scoring five unanswered runs to get within one in the ninth inning. However, the 6-1 deficit through two innings was just too much to overcome.

A lead-off triple by Biloxi to kick off the game in the first resulted in back to back three-run innings. But down 6-0, Mississippi got one run back when Riley Delgado hit a two-out RBI single.

Thanks to a table-setting double by a scorching-hot Jalen Miller, the M-Braves continued to chip away in the third. With Miller on second and one out, catcher Hendrick Clementina smacked a double off the center field wall to put Mississippi within four.

Despite a combined eight hits over the next five innings, neither team could add any runs. But in the ninth, following a one-out walk by Andrew Moritz, the M-Braves started to rally. First, Michael Harris knocked in Moritz with an RBI double to left.

Then Miller knocked in Harris with a double himself (his second two-bagger of the night).

After a base-hit by Luke Waddell to put runners on the corners, Clementina put Mississippi within just one run when he went the other way with a line drive to right. They were right there at the end.

But a lineout by Drew Lugbauer and a strikeout by CJ Alexander quickly snapped the momentum… and that was it. Out of time.

I’ll admit, I was a bit concerned when I checked the box score last night and saw that Shuster had exited in the first inning. But from what I’ve gathered, the prospect lefty didn’t suffer any kind of injury. Evidently he just didn’t have it, and after 34 pitches the M-Braves decided to get him out of there. Regardless, one rough outing shouldn’t be too big of a deal, especially how great Shuster has been so far this season.

A+ – Rome (19-15)

L, 4-2 vs. Aberdeen 

(P) Royber Salinas – (L), 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 7 K, HR

(DH) Landon Stephens – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI

(3B) Justyn-Henry Malloy – 1 for 3, RBI

(CF) Cody Milligan – 1 for 3, R, BB

This should be a fun series all week, and Game 1 on Tuesday was a great pitching matchup between Aberdeen’s Houston Roth and Rome’s Royber Salinas. The two starters traded zeroes during the first three frames, as the former was hitless with just a walk allowed, while the latter struck out six and surrendered only a harmless double. But in the fourth, the IronBirds finally broke through, leading off with a single before slugging a two-run home run to go up 2-0.

In the fifth, Aberdeen made it four unanswered runs, as the team again led off with a hit, this time a double. The IronBird advanced to third on a passed ball by Tyler Tolve and then two batters later crossed home thanks to an RBI double to right, ending Salinas’ night. Rome went with Malcolm Van Buren to try and get out of the jam, but Van Buren walked the first batter he faced, then threw back to back wild pitches, with the second one allowing another run to score. Thankfully, the R-Braves reliever quickly settled down and ended the inning with two-straight strikeouts.

That 4-0 advantage for Aberdeen didn’t last long. In the sixth, Rome came out swinging, as Bryson Horne reached on a lead-off single and two batters later Cody Milligan did the same. Vaughn Grissom then drew a two-out walk to load the bases, and right on cue, Justyn-Henry Malloy lifted a sac-fly to right to push in Horne. The R-Braves kept it going. Immediately after Malloy’s RBI, Landon Stephens swatted a huge double that scored Milligan, and just like that Rome had itself a two-run ballgame.

But only one baserunner (off a walk) in the seventh and eighth, and then just two singles with no runners on in the ninth prevented Rome from making a comeback. A flyout to left by Horne ended the final inning and the game.

When looking at Salinas’ final line, remember that the fourth run he allowed was one that was left on when he hit the showers. Overall, it was a solid performance from the 21-year-old righty, and honestly, if Rome’s bats would’ve been on I’m certain he could’ve been in line for a win. Regardless, though, Salinas will carry a 3.21 ERA into his next outing, which could come as soon as this coming Sunday.

A – Augusta (20-14)

L, 14-6 vs. Charleston 

(P) Jorge Bautista – (L), IP, 9 H, 8 ER

(RF) Brandol Mezquita – 2 for 4, 3B, 2 RBI, R

(LF) Stephen Paolini – 3 for 5, 2B, RBI, R

(2B) Caleb Durbin – 1 for 3, R, BB

The rough night down on the farm on Tuesday continued as Augusta was routed in its series opener versus Charleston. To start off the game, the RiverDogs scored nine unanswered runs combined in the first and second innings, handing Jorge Bautista one of the worst pitching lines by a Braves minor leaguer so far this season, with eight earned runs from nine hits in just one inning.

After going down 9-0 through two, the GreenJackets offense managed to get a pair of runs back in the third, thanks to a couple of singles and a sac-fly, to go with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Stephen Paolini’s two-out, RBI single capped off the two-run inning. But Charleston would go on to get one right back in the bottom-half of the frame, and then two more in the fifth, giving the RiverDogs a 12-2 lead through five.

A double by Paolini, a walk by Adam Zebrowski, a two-run triple by Brandol Mezquita and a wild pitch by Charleston allowed Augusta to score three quick runs in the sixth. But once again, the RiverDogs answered with runs of its own in its half of the frame, slapping a pair of RBI singles to make it a 14-5 game. In the ninth, Paolini contributed with another big hit, pushing in Brandon Parker with an RBI single. But an eight-run deficit was going to be quite a task, and one batter later the GreenJackets went down for the final out when Zebrowski grounded out to the shortstop.

The rough outing by Bautista has to hurt, especially given it was his first start of the season. However, it was always going to be a hefty challenge given Charleston is one of the best Low-A clubs in the league right now. And also, the RiverDogs starter last night, Ben Peoples, has been one of the team’s better pitchers in 2022, which he showed why by striking out seven five innings of work.

The three-hit performance by Augusta’s Paolini was his first with the GreenJackets, and he needed it too given he’s hitting just .198 for the season. Mezquita’s triple and base-hit extends his on-base streak to a whopping 25 games in a row, as the prospect outfielder is up to a .339 AVG and .903 OPS for the year.

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