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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Bryse and Weigel dominate, Riley and AJax homer

Tonight was a good night for followers of the Braves minor league system. It’s good to be back

Bryse Wilson had himself a game on Friday
Jeff Morris

Gwinnett Braves 4, Durham Bulls 6 - F/13

Box Score

  • Kyle Kubitza, 1B: 4-6
  • Ozzie Albies, 2B: 1-6, run
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 2-5, BB, run, error
  • Sean Newcomb, SP: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Gwinnett kept the game close and forced extras, but Durham outlasted them and the Braves fell 6-4. On the offensive side of the ball, Mel Rojas Jr. and Matt Tuiasosopo each had solo shots while 5 different G-Braves had multi-hit games on their cards including Rio Ruiz. That was the good news. The bad news was that Gwinnett also struck out a tough 15 times in the game including 4 for Adam Walker who went 0-6 on the night. Ozzie Albies did get his first hit and run scored on the season as he tries to make his way to the big league club.

On the pitching side, we were treated to a somewhat new version of the Sean Newcomb experience. He was missing his spots a bit in this game, but 8 strikeouts in just over 4 innings is quite good and his overall line was made rougher by a 3rd inning that saw Durham square him up for 3 doubles and a single. It is worth noting that all three outs in that inning were recorded via strikeout. He also seemed to be throwing what appeared to be a cutter at points in the game which would definitely be an interesting development if accurate, but more info is needed there. Jason Hursh, Rhiner Cruz, and David Hernandez combined for 6.2 innings of scoreless relief with 8 Ks of their own before Durham finally got to Sam Freeman in the top of the 13th with a solo shot and a run that scored on an error from Rio Ruiz.

Mississippi Braves 2, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 0

Box Score

  • Luis Valenzuela, 3B: 4-4, 3B, run
  • Kade Scivicque, C: 2-4
  • Travis Demeritte, 2B: 1-4, RBI, run
  • Patrick Weigel, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K

Patrick Weigel was lights out in his first start of the season and Mississippi did just enough on offense to secure a 2-0 win. Luis Valenzuela had himself a game, going 4-4 including a triple. Valenzuela missed a big chunk of the year last year due to injury, but has a track record of hitting for average and not much else, but he is a guy to keep an eye on. Travis Demeritte had his second straight game with a hit and an RBI with Mississippi’s other run being driven in by Dylan Moore. Keith Curcio and Kade Scivicque each had a pair of hits and Patrick Weigel (we will get to more on him in a second) brought the big stick as he hit a double in his only at-bat of the game.

Speaking of Weigel....he was awesome. 5 innings of shutout ball while allowing 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out seven is quite the 2017 debut. He did allow some baserunners but missed bats when it counted, didn’t allow much hard contact, and got a bit of help from the defense behind him. Jesse Biddle and Akeel Morris handled the bullpen duties in this game and combined to throw 4 innings of zeroes on the scoreboard to secure the shutout for Mississippi while striking out 3 collectively and walking just a single and giving up just 3 hits.

Florida Fire Frogs 5, Dayton Tortugas 4

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuna, CF: 2-4, 3B, RBI, run
  • Austin Riley, 3B: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI
  • Alex Jackson, C: 1-4, HR, RBI
  • Tyler Pike, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K

Austin Riley and Alex Jackson went deep to help the Fire Frogs jump in the lead and they held on to beat the Tortugas 5-4. Ronald Acuna got the scoring started for the Fire Frogs with an RBI single in the third just before Austin Riley connected for a 3-run shot to left-center, his first home run of the season. He was also really active in the field, making a couple diving stops at the hot corner. The newly acquired Alex Jackson, who had a rough start behind the plate (with good reason given this was his first start at catcher since high school) with an error and a passed ball, finished the scoring for the Fire Frogs with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Both Acuna and Alejandro Salazar had multi-hit games Braxton Davidson got his first hit and stolen base of the season, although he now has 5 strikeouts through the first 2 games of the season.

On the pitching side, Tyler Pike, acquired by the Braves in the offseason from the Mariners, got the start for Florida and he had himself a good first game in going 4 innings while giving up 3 hits, two runs (only one of which was earned), 1 walk, and striking out 4. The bullpen work was a bit hit and miss as Josh Graham and Taylor Lewis each gave up a run in their appearances, although some fielding miscues led to some of those difficulties. Chase Johnson-Mullins and Devan Watts each game in and kept their lines clean to help the Fire Frogs secure the win.

Rome Braves 3, West Virginia Power 0

Box Score

Rome Braves 3, West Virginia Power 2

Box Score

  • Juan Yepez, 3B: 2-7, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
  • Lucas Herbert, C: 1-3, HR, RBI
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-6, RBI, BB, SB
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Behind some strong pitching, in particular from 2016 4th rounder Bryse Wilson, Rome swept a season opening doubleheader with the Power by scores of 3-0 and 3-2. Bryse Wilson got the opening day start for Rome in the first game and he was absolutely sensational. After a strong rookie ball campaign, he gave up just one hit (a double in the first inning) while striking out 5 and throwing just 52 pitches. Not bad for a guy who turned 19 this past December. In game two, Oriel Caicedo had a good start as well in giving up just one run in just under 4 innings of work while striking out 4. Ryan Lawlor, after a rough year in high-A in 2016, pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief and Brandon White gave up a run in his two innings, but still secured the save for Rome and allowed them to sweep the doubleheader.

On offense, the first game belonged to Juan Yepez and Lucas Herbert who hit back-to-back home runs in the 6th inning to provide the game’s only runs. Yepez had the only multihit game for Rome in addition to playing over at third base (a move made possible by the promotion of Austin Riley). In the second game, Randy Ventura led the game off with a single, stolen base, and then scored on a wild pitch (of course he did). Cristian Pache reached base a pair of times including an RBI single and also recorded his first stolen base of the season. Marcus Mooney got the start at short in the second game and got a pair of hits for his trouble. Yepez added an RBI groundout in the 5th inning which turned out to be the decisive run in the game.

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