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Atlanta Braves Minors Recap 9/3: Ruiz and Davidson homer. Sims pitches Well

5 players hit home runs last night, including Braxton Davidson, Connor Lien, and Rio Ruiz. Lucas Sims dominated, but Mississippi came up short in the worst of ways.

Lucas Sims has been dominant over his last 6 starts for Mississippi
Lucas Sims has been dominant over his last 6 starts for Mississippi

(75-65) Gwinnett Braves 6, (76-64) Norfolk Tides 2

Box Score

  • Mallex Smith, CF: 1-5, SB, .286/.337/.372

  • Cedric Hunter, LF: 1-4, BB, RBI, .283/.329/.424

  • Barrett Kleinknecht, DH: 2-4, 2 R, .194/.238/.272

  • Ryan Weber, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2.21 ERA

Gwinnett is rolling once again, and has now won 3 straight against the first place Tides to move 1 game back of their first playoff berth since their wild berth in 2009. The have not won the division since they were the Richmond Braves back in 2004. They fell behind early when Ryan Weber gave up home runs to Christian Walker in his first 2 plate appearances, but the pitching staff bounced back to shut the Tides down for the next 6 innings. Cedric Hunter had the big hit on the day, singling in the 5th to score Jake Schrader to give the Braves a 3-2 lead, and Sean Kazmar followed him up with a sacrifice to extend the lead to 4-2. Kazmar had 2 RBIs and a triple on the night. Christian Walker may have been the offense for Norfolk, but he gave his runs right back with a costly error on a ball hit by Mallex Smith in the ninth, which led to 2 key insurance runs being scored in the 9th. Brian Snitker then brought in David Peterson to close the deal after Vin Mazzaro had pitched 3 scoreless innings.

(68-85) Mississippi Braves 6 vs. (55-80) Jacksonville Suns 7 f/10

Box Score

  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, HR, 2 BB, .234/.333/.324

  • Matt Lipka, LF: 3-4, 2B,  BB, .247/.281/.313

  • Emerson Landoni, SS: 2-6, 2 RBI, .297/.335/.379

  • Lucas Sims, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.21 ERA

Mississippi lost an absolutely heartbreaker on a walk off home run in the 10th. The MBraves took an early lead when Rio Ruiz drove an Alex Burgos pitch into the right field bleachers, and with Lucas Sims rolling it seemed that would be more than enough for the young righty to get the win. Sims ran into some trouble in the 7th when Carlos Lopez drew a 10 pitch walk, which ultimately led to the tying run. Down 2-1 in the 9th, Mississippi fought hard and was able to tie it on a Kevin Ahrens single, sending it to extra innings. Just minutes after this occurred the game between Mobile and 1st place Pensacola went final, with Mobile getting the win and Mississippi tying the Wahoos for the division lead.

They went into the 10th with a chance to take the outright lead in the south, and quickly jumped on Suns reliever Juancito Martinez. David Rohm flew out to start the frame, but Ruiz and Matt Kennelly drew back to back walks, and a Matt Lipka double into the gap scored Ruiz to give Mississippi the lead. After an intentional walk to Eric Garcia, red hot Emerson Landoni drove in 2 more with a bleeder up the middle, and Levi Hyams added another run on a ground out. Confident they had a win in hand up 6-2, Aaron Holbert turned to one of his star relievers in Tyler Jones. That did not turn out well. Jones walked 2 of the first 3 batters, and then allowed a single to cut the lead to 3. 1 more base hit had the lead cut to 2 and the tying run on base with one out, and Aaron Holbert went to get Jones and switch him for Jorge Reyes. He quickly fell behind 2-0, and left a fastball down the pipe on the third pitch.

David Adams took advantage, drilling a no doubter to left field to visibly stun many of the Mississippi Braves players and keep Mississippi a half game back for yet another night. If I weren't a Braves fan I would call this one of the best games of the season, but I am so I'll just call it depressing. Mississippi has 4 games remaining, with the so far stellar John Gant pitching Friday, Andrew Thurman on Saturday, Stephen Janas (coming off of his best start in AA) on Sunday, and Greg Ross on Sunday (2.07 ERA in his last 10).

(69-66) Carolina Mudcats 7 vs. (63-73) Frederick Keys 4

Box Score

  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 0-5, .260/.326/.362

  • Connor Lien, RF: 1-4, HR, RBI, BB, SB, .283/.343/.407

  • Joey Meneses, 1B: 3-4, 2 2B, RBI, .257/.311/.338

  • Carlos Franco, 3B: 3-4, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, .237/.297/.331

  • Andrew Waszak, SP: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.30 ERA

Carolina jumped on Frederick early, scoring 4 runs in the first on doubles by Keith Curcio, Joey Meneses, and Carlos Franco. They added a run in the 3rd on a single by Sal Giardina, and then extended the lead to 7-1 after a Lien home run in the 4th and a Franco home run in the 5th. Jose Briceno also knocked in a run with a first inning single. Bradley Roney came in to get the save, his 6th of the year. Over his last 10 games Carlos Franco is hitting .324/.400/.471 with 7 RBI. Joey Meneses is also as hot as he's been all year, hitting .291/.311/.441 over his past 10.

(57-79) Rome Braves 4 vs. (78-56) Hickory Crawdads 9

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-3, HR, .245/.386/.381

  • Luis Valenzuela, SS: 3-4, HR, .364/.384/.509

  • Luke Dykstra, 2B: 2-4, 2B, .316/.337/.468

  • Daniel Cordero, SP: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 7.88 ERA

Rome had a 4-2 lead after the top half of the 8th, Taylor Cockrell had a bit of a meltdown in the 8th and allowed 7 runs to give Hickory the lead and win. Our new shortstop Luis Valenzuela (because we are so thin at future utility shortstops) went 3-4 with a home run on the year to keep his ridiculous season going. Braxton Davidson also hit his 10th home run of the season (praise the baseball gods) and didn't strike out for the second straight game, which I guess is kind of a feat. Luke Dykstra also had a nice night at the plate going 2-4 with a double. Daniel Cordero was sent down to Danville in August after struggling for much of the season, and after a really successful campaign there was brought back up to Rome. He had a nice start despite not going very deep

Braxton Davidson

Luis Valenzuela was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 by the Red Sox, and his debut with the DSL team was underwhelming, as he hit .130 in 30 at bats. He was released by the Sox prior to a Stanzolol suspension on November 5 of 2012, and was picked up by the Royals. He Struggled yet again in rookie ball the next year, hitting .130 over 23 At bats with the AZL Royals, and then again with the Idaho Falls Chukars kast year (.259 in 57 games). 2015 has been a massive success for the 5'10 lefty, hitting .364 with across 2 levels and 3 teams. He has some projectability left in his frame at just 150 pounds, but likely won't add enough strength to be more than a 8-10 HR a year guy. He doesn't have particularly great speed or a great arm, but he's a solid defender up the middle. He doesn't draw a ton of walks, and has a middle of the road strikeout rate, and has relied on a nearly .400 BABIP to survive. He has a nice swing from the left side, quick and to the point generating much more power than you would expect him to. This could be a case of the Braves scouts really doing their homework on a guy, though he'd have to have another good year at Carolina next year to really be considered a future contributor. Not that we would have expected to get much for Gomes anyway.

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