The Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Friday against the Marlins, and the team actually maintained that lead throughout the entire game, ending it with a 5-3 win. Hopefully Atlanta can keep it up as its hottest starting pitcher takes the mound on Saturday in righty Kyle Wright.
Down on the farm there was plenty of action on Friday night. Here’s a look at it all in today’s recap…
AAA – Gwinnett (20-20)
W, 3-2 vs. Memphis
(P) Kyle Muller – 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
(3B) Phil Gosselin – 1 for 4, 3B, RBI, R
(RF) Preston Tucker – 1 for 4, RBI
(LF) Delino DeShields – 2 for 3, R
(CF) Drew Waters – 1 for 4, R
The Stripers got itself back to .500 for the season with a win on Friday night versus the Redbirds, thanks to back to back RBI hits by both Phil Gosselin (groundout) and Preston Tucker (single) in the eighth to put Gwinnett up 3-2. Veteran reliever Brad Brach came on for the ninth and was tough, working around a two-out walk to get the game-ending fly out to left for his second save of the season. Friday’s win makes it three in a row for the Stripers. A little noteworthy tidbit regarding Gosselin, his lead-off triple to begin the fourth was not only his second of the 2022 campaign but also the 10th of his Gwinnett career, tying him with Todd Cunningham for fourth all-time in Stripers history, per MiLB.com.
Examining prospect Kyle Muller’s start, it certainly wasn’t his better outings, as he needed 96 pitches just to get through his five innings. However, the lefty managed to work through his control issues and induce seven ground outs, which enabled him to get through mostly unscathed. The 24-year-old pitcher also helped himself in the fourth, reacting quickly to a come-backer and making the out at first to end the inning.
Through four, Muller just allowed a pair of singles and two walks, before a throwing error by catcher Ryan Casteel allowed a run to score in the fifth. Muller’s only real blemishes came in the sixth, when he began the frame by allowing back to back singles, which ended his day. Nolan Kingham came on in relief and immediately allowed one of those inherited runners to score, giving Muller the two earned runs on the night. The former second-round pick will enter his next start with a solid 3.68 ERA for the year.
AA – Mississippi (16-21)
L, 4-3 vs. Biloxi
(P) Darius Vines – 6 IP, 6 H, BB, ER, 7 K, HR
(SS) Yariel Gonzalez – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
(1B) Drew Lugbauer – 1 for 4, 2B, RBI
(CF) Michael Harris II – 2 for 4, 2B, R
Looking to make it three wins in a row on Friday night, a hard-hit ground ball just past the glove of a diving Riley Delgado in the ninth spoiled a potential win streak for Mississippi. That RBI single off Tyler Ferguson put Biloxi up 4-3 and the Shuckers held on in the bottom-half of the frame to sneak by with a win.
Though it ended in a loss, as usual there were plenty of highlights from the M-Braves on Friday. The first was from starter Darius Vines, who through three scoreless innings, already had four strikeouts.
Then, in the bottom-half of the fourth, it was prospect Michael Harris II that got things going for Mississippi’s offense, when he smacked a double to left to lead off the inning. Three batters later, slugger Drew Lugbauer would score Harris with a double of his own to put the M-Braves up 1-0.
Following a solo home run from Biloxi in the top of the sixth, Mississippi answered with a long ball of its own, thanks to Yariel Gonzalez. The Gonzalez homer added two for the M-Braves due to another lead-off hit (single) for Harris earlier in the inning.
Then, in the seventh, Mississippi’s defense once again pulled off an amazing play. Just a few nights after Harris made that spectacular diving catch in center field, on Friday Jalen Miller showed off his outfield skills by snagging a fly ball up against the left-center wall… with bases loaded, preventing at least two runs from the Shuckers. Oh… and this was just Miller’s third game ever in left, in 629 career games, by the way.
Unfortunately, Biloxi would go on to hit a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Troy Bacon, and then proceeded to slap that aforementioned RBI in the final frame off Ferguson, giving the Shuckers the one-run victory. It was pretty amazing the M-Braves hung in like they did, given Biloxi put nine runners in scoring position during the contest, compared to just four for Mississippi.
The outing by Vines was a nice improvement compared to his last few performances, as it’s just the second time in his last six starts that he’s given up less than two runs. The strikeouts have been coming in for the 24-year-old righty, who’s already up to 50 now for the season, with an average of 10.8 per nine. Vines will head into start #9 next week with a respectable 4.35 ERA for the year.
For Gonzalez, Friday marks two nights in a row with a home run, as he has four now for the season. The 27-year-old infielder is hitting .269 so far and is 7 for his last 13.
A+ – Rome (21-16)
W, 6-0 vs. Aberdeen
(P) Dylan Dodd – (W), 6 IP, 3 H, 4 K
Bullpen – 3 IP, BB, 5 K
(DH) Bryson Horne – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
(3B) Justyn-Henry Malloy – 2 for 5, HR, RBI, R
(C) Javier Valdes – 2 for 3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
(LF) Landon Stephens – 1 for 5, 2B, R, SB
(SS) Beau Philip – 2 for 4, R
Friday night featured a bit of a pitcher’s duel between Rome’s Dylan Dodd and Aberdeen’s Carlos Tavera, although the former wound up prevailing and picking up his fourth win of the 2022 season, thanks to six scoreless innings and just three hits allowed. It was another solid outing for Dodd, who hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13 innings spanning two starts. When Dodd did allow any contact on Friday, it was mainly on the ground, as 10 of his 13 batted-ball outs were ground outs. And to top it off, Rome’s bullpen was just as stingy. The trio of Dylan Spain, Alec Barger and Austin Smith combined to work three hitless frames to go with five more punch outs.
The R-Braves bats came to play in this one. Rome first got on the board in the third, thanks to Justin-Henry Malloy’s fourth home run of the season – a pulled blast over the left field wall (sorry, Aberdeen’s game feed sucks).
Then, in the sixth, Rome’s lineup came together with quite the rally, as five of the first six batters reached base, including a three-run dinger from Bryson Horne, his first of the year.
In the eighth, I guess Javier Valdes felt left out, so he too went deep, leading off the frame with a solo homer to left to give Rome a 6-0 lead and our final score.
The R-Braves have had its hands full this week against the IronBirds, but on Friday the bats were hot and the pitching was right on point. A great overall performance by Rome. And after an 0 for 3 performance on Thursday, Malloy’s two hits in this one keeps him above that magical .300 threshold as the third baseman is still hitting .319 for the season.
A – Augusta (20-17)
L, 8-2 vs. Charleston
(P) Luis Vargas – (L), 1.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR
(2B) Geraldo Quintero – 3 for 5, 2B, RBI
(RF) Connor Blair – 2 for 3, RBI, BB
(DH) Braulio Vasquez – 2 for 4, R
(CF) Stephen Paolini – 1 for 4, 2B, BB
The GreenJackets have had a tough time with the RiverDogs, as on Friday Augusta lost its fourth-straight, thanks to a combined six runs by Charleston in just the first two innings. After allowing only three runs over his last two starts altogether (9.2 IP), GreenJackets starter Luis Vargas gave up three scores last night before even getting out of the second inning. His day was done after having to face 14 batters in 1.2 innings.
Down 6-0, in the fourth Augusta got on the board when both Mahki Backstrom and Connor Blair walked, and Geraldo Quintero followed up with an RBI single, scoring Backstrom. However, a throwing error by Augusta catcher Adam Zebrowski in the bottom-half of the inning led to another score for Charleston, making it 7-1.
The GreenJackets only other run came in the eighth. With one out, both Braulio Vasquez and Brian Klein singled. Then, two batters later Blair knocked in Vasquez with a base-hit himself, making it 7-2. However, that’s all the Augusta offense could manage, as the five-run deficit was just too much to overcome.