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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Allard and Riley have Rome one win away

Kolby Allard and Austin Riley carried Rome while Gwinnett struggled. Mississippi was eliminated altogether.

Austin Riley

Gwinnett Braves 0, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 3

Box Score

  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 0-4, .053
  • Mel Rojas Jr., RF: 2-4, .367
  • Tyrell Jenkins, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 4.50 ERA

Tough night for Gwinnett as they fell to the RailRiders 3-0 and fell behind in the International League Championship series 2 games to 1. After a really rough loss last night, the pitching staff continued to do good work with Tyrell Jenkins going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs. Stop me if you have heard this before, but it would be nice if he could limit the walks although it was nice to see that he put up six strikeouts over 5 innings. Steve Janas would then come in and pitch 3 scoreless innings of relief. Janas struggled at times in his first taste of AAA but has shown flashes of been an effective middle reliever at the next level. Brian Moran would end the game for Gwinnett with a scoreless inning but it was too late.

On offense, well, there isn’t much to talk about. Gwinnett only managed 5 hits on the evening with two of them coming off the bat of Mel Rojas Jr. who put on defensive show last night. The only extra-base hit for Gwinnett was a double by Reid Brignac as RailRiders’ starter Brady Lail held the offense in check. Rio Ruiz went 0-4 and has just one hit during Gwinnett’s playoff run which makes the whole scoring runs thing for Gwinnett a bit more difficult.

Mississippi Braves 3, Jackson Generals 11

Box Score

  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 4-5, HR, .345
  • Joey Meneses, 1B: 2-4, RBI, .440
  • Patrick Weigel, SP: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 K, 4.70 ERA

It just wasn’t Mississippi’s night and their season ended as they were swept by Jackson in the Southern League Championship series with the final game’s score being 11-3. Patrick Weigel had his first bad game at an admittedly inopportune time as he was just not able to throw strikes and failed to make it out of the first inning. With young guys, sometimes nerves are a very real thing and sometimes a guy just doesn’t have it. All we can hope for is that Weigel is healthy and that he comes back strong and puts on a show for fans next year like he did this year. Mississippi would go on to use 7 pitchers in the game with Caleb Dirks and Akeel Morris also having rough nights. In short, when your pitching staff has more walks (10) than strikeouts (8), it is not a recipe for success.

On offense, there were certainly some positives. After struggling in the regular season in his promotion to AA, Joey Meneses came alive in the playoffs and had two hits and an RBI in the last game. Meneses typically has struggled at his first look at a given level before excelling at his second go at it, so it will be interesting to see how well he does next season as he will almost certainly repeat AA. Dustin Peterson ended the 2016 season with a bang as he had four hits including a homer as he did what he could to put the team on his back and get them back in the series. The offense as a whole played well, but unfortunately they were in too much of an early deficit to be able to prolong the series. Its worth noting that losing both Dansby Swanson (promotion) and Ozzie Albies (injury) within a month or so are hard losses for any team to absorb.

Rome Braves 2, Lakewood BlueClaws 0

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 1-3, BB, HR, .238
  • Ronald Acuna, CF: 1-3, 2B, .136
  • Kolby Allard, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome is on the verge of capturing its first Sally League championship since their inaugural season as the Braves shut down Lakewood 2-0. How about Kolby Allard? In his first season of pro ball, he had an ERA just under 3 and that is with two starts at Rome immediately after coming back from back surgery handicapping his line a bit. It is easily to oogle at Allard’s line and the numbers he has put up this go ahead and do that, I will wait. (pauses) In short, Allard is a prime candidate to move up top 100 prospect lists in the offseason and going through next season as he puts his back procedure further and further in his rearview mirror. Chase Johnson-Mullins and Devan Watts combined to give up just one hit and one walk to preserve the shutout and bring Rome within a game of the title.

On offense, there goes Austin Riley again. A solo shot for him gives him back to back games with a home run. One would think that Lakewood will be glad to see him leave, but then again...most teams, in particular in the second half, probably have felt that way. Carlos Castro drove in Rome’s other run, but others had some hard hit balls as well. Ray-Patrick Didder and Ronald Acuna both had doubles at the top of the order, but sadly both failed to score runs as Rome struggled with men on base in this one. Luckily, the pitching staff had their backs and they look to clinch with Max Fried on the hill.

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