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Bryce Elder carries no-hitter into the sixth, while CJ Alexander homers again

Instead of the normal Monday off-day, both Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi played games yesterday. The two-game slate wound up featuring some excitement too, as the Stripers received a gem from its starting pitcher and the M-Braves continued to hit the ball well. Here’s a look at the action from Monday down on the Braves farm…

AAA – Gwinnett (25-24)

W, 2-0 vs. Louisville 

(P) Bryce Elder – (W), 8 IP, 2 H, BB, 8 K

(DH) Alex Dickerson – 2 for 4, 2B

(SS) Braden Shewmake – 1 for 4, R

Gwinnett heads into an off day on Tuesday having just won a pitcher’s duel last night. In perhaps his best outing of the year, prospect righty Bryce Elder tossed six hitless innings on his way to eight total scoreless frames, and in the fourth the Stripers offense scored a pair of runs from a wild pitch to beat Louisville 2-0 on Monday.

Elder really needed the strong start. He came into yesterday’s game sporting a bloated 6.95 ERA for the year, thanks to a recent stretch featuring three straight outings with three or more earned runs. As you can see by the final line, Elder was dominant on Monday. The 23-year-old began the start by setting down the first six-straight Bats batters, before one reached due to a fielding error in the third. Following the blunder by Phil Gosselin, Elder than proceeded to retire 11 of the next 12 Louisville batters, with a single in the seventh spoiling the streak. The eight innings last night was Elder’s longest of the 2022 season, and his ERA for the year will drop 85 points because of it to 5.10.

Alex Dickerson provided a pair of hits in Monday’s win, giving him three games in a row with a knock. Dickerson has performed much better in the minors so far this season, posting a .622 OPS with Gwinnett compared to just a .406 OPS in the majors. Braden Shewmake, Greyson Jenista and John Nogowski were the only other Stripers to record a hit.

AA – Mississippi (23-23)

L, 8-6 vs. Montgomery 

(P) Hayden Deal – IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K

(3B) CJ Alexander – 1 for 3, HR, RBI, SB

(2B) Luke Waddell – 2 for 5, 2 RBI

(SS) Yariel Gonzalez – 1 for 4, RBI 

The M-Braves went with a bullpen game for Monday’s contest versus Montgomery, and despite yet another home run from CJ Alexander (his fourth in four games), Mississippi lost on Memorial Day.

The Biscuits got on the board with three runs in the first against starter Hayden Deal, but the M-Braves answered in the second when Alexander slugged his eighth long ball of the year.

A sac-fly by Yariel Gonzalez in the third made it a 3-2 game, but unfortunately Montgomery wasn’t done as the Biscuits tacked on another run with an RBI double in the fourth to go up 4-2. Then in the sixth, a Montgomery sac-fly and an inside-the-park home run quickly made it a four-run game.

But Mississippi still had some fight. The M-Braves scored four in the seventh, thanks to four-straight one-out walks, a wild pitch and a three-run single by Luke Waddell (one of which scored due to an error by the Montgomery defense). Through seven the two teams were tied 6-6.

But in the eighth, M-Braves reliever Jake Higginbotham got a little wild. A walk, single, balk and an RBI single gave the Biscuits two runs, and the Mississippi offense couldn’t make the comeback, resulting in a two-run loss.

It wasn’t a great performance from the M-Braves pitchers, although once again the offense was fine. Alexander is perhaps the hottest he’s ever been at the plate, now having hit safely in five consecutive games. During that five-game stretch, the third baseman is 9 for 21 (.428 AVG) with four home runs and nine RBI, raising his season AVG a whopping 30 points in that span (.237 to .267). Alexander is looking like a prime candidate to win Batter of the Week in the Southern League.

Both High-A Rome and Low-A Augusta had its normal off day on Monday, but will be back in action as the only two teams on the Braves farm playing today.

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