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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 4/19: Austin Riley Perfect, Joey Wentz Stellar

Austin Riley continued to terrorize opposing pitchers in AA

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

(6-8) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2, (6-8) Mississippi Braves 3

Box Score

  • Travis Demeritte, LF: 0-for-2, BB, R, .128/.277/.256
  • Austin Riley, 3B: 3-for-3, 2(2B), BB, .408/.463/.796
  • Alex Jackson, C: 0-for-3, RBI, .235/.325/.382
  • Wes Parsons, SP: 4.0IP 0H 0R 1BB 7K

Mississippi earns a well fought win just barely squeaking by the Blue Wahoos. Wes Parsons was dynamite - striking out seven over four no-hit innings. He left after four with Mississippi up 2-0 after an Austin Riley double scored Luis Valenzuela in the first, and then Travis Demeritte scored on a ground out by Tyler Neslony to push the lead to two. Devan Watts then made his AA debut and gave up just one hit through two innings. He was then replaced by Tyler Pike who made his 2018 debut and worked a scoreless inning while walking one. Mississippi then went up 3-0 in the seventh after Alex Jackson hit a sacrifice fly that scored Daniel Lockhart. This run ended up being vital as Pensacola scored two off of Josh Graham. Jacob Webb then struck out two in the ninth to preserve the win for Mississippi.

Austin Riley now has a hit in 13 of the 14 games he’s played in this season. He has at least two hits in six of those 13 games and his 1.259 OPS is second in the Southern League. Austin’s .769 slugging percentage is also second in the league. He was the only player on either team to register a multi-hit game yesterday. Overall, the guy is on absolute fire and has been playing phenomenally to begin the season.

Devan Watts made his AA debut and was stellar in his two frames of work. He needed just 15 pitches, 10 of which were thrown for strikes, to work those two innings. He was an interesting addition to the Fire Frogs staff to start the season but has, I would say, rightfully been moved up to AA. He joined Tyler Pike who made his first appearance out of the bullpen where his fastball plays a little better. At it’s peak his fastball velocity hits 94, a rather drastic change from his high 80s to low 90s he sat while starting. He could pair that with his impressive curveball and changeup and be rather dynamic out of the bullpen, but it all depends on his control (last year he set a career record in innings pitched and walks).

(7-6) St. Lucie Mets 3, (5-9) Florida Fire Frogs 2

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 0-for-4, .246/.246/.333
  • Lucas Herbert, C: 0-for-3, RBI, .162/.256/.270
  • Joey Wentz, SP: 5.0IP 3H 0R 0BB 6K
  • Justin Kelly, RP: 0.0IP 1H 3R 2ER 3BB

It was free beer Thursday in Florida, a promo that has the club giving away free beer until the opposing team scores - and unfortunately for Florida Joey Wentz was on the mound and he was special once again. Joey worked five incredible innings throwing 50 strikes on 73 pitches. In three games he has now yielded one earned run, has walked two, and struck out 15. He left with the Fire Frogs up 1-0 after Justin Ellison went deep in the bottom of the third inning. Following Joey Wentz was Justin Kelly who unfortunately just didn’t have it as every batter he faced reached, and scored. He was replaced by Kelvin Vasquez who came in with the bases loaded and none out and managed to only let two runs (one earned) score. An error by Jordan Rodgers allowed two runs to score on a sacrifice fly to put St. Lucie up 3-2. After that magical work Kelvin worked two more hitless innings to keep the Fire Frogs in the game - his final line was 3IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K.

Florida made it a game once again in the 7th inning when Lucas Herbert hit a sac fly that scored Jared James, who had tripled in the at bat prior to Lucas, to close the lead to 3-2 but that was as far as the Fire Frogs could get. Chad Sobotka worked a perfect ninth inning but Florida dropped their ninth game of the season to fall to 5-9.

(9-5) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (8-6) Rome Braves 1

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, CF: 0-for-3, BB, SB(2) .235/.291/.431
  • Derian Cruz, 2B: 0-for-4, .191/.255/.319
  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 1-for-4, .182/.234/.341
  • Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B: 0-for-4, .311/.340/.378
  • Isranel Wilson, CF: 1-for-3, SB(5) .133/.245/.156
  • Huascar Ynoa, SP: 4.0IP 2H 1ER 3BB 5K
  • Freddy Tarnok, RP: 2.0IP 3H 3R 0ER 1BB 3K

The Rome pitching staff gave up one earned run this game. They lost 6-1. That’s about all you need to know about last night’s game that was plagued by errors (4) by the Rome Braves. Huascar made his deepest out of the season throwing four innings where he walked three and gave up one earned run. The 19 year old isn’t off to the greatest start as he has 10 walks in 8.2 innings pitched. The pitcher obtained in the Jaime Garcia trade has electric stuff but has struggled with control to start his career. The defense didn’t improve after Huascar was taken out, as they gave up another two unearned runs with Freddy Tarnok on the mound. This was Freddy’s already fourth appearance on the season and after his three walk performance in his first appearance - has found a nice groove already in the season. Drew Harrington then worked the seventh inning where he also gave up two unearned runs that saw the Greenjackets lead increase to 6-1. It was Harrington’s fourth appearance of the season already as well and he’s given up at least two runs in each outing - hitters are hitting .357 against him to start the season.

Offensively, Rome struggled to get anything started. As a whole they were only able to muster four hits while striking out 12 times and walking just twice over nine innings. The lone run they scored was in the fifth inning when Griffin Benson scored on an errant throw by the catcher when trying to steal third. Unfortunate stat from last night: Derian Cruz, Drew Lugbauer, and Jean Carlos Encarnacion combined to go 1-for-12 with 9 strikeouts.

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