(40-52) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (47-43) Norfolk Tides 3
Austin Riley, 3B: 0-4, .281/.346/.412
Xavier Avery, RF: 3-3, BB, .260/.345/.354
Lucas Sims, SP: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2.15 ERA
Lucas Sims had a strong start on the mound and the Stripers put up a late run to take a one run win over the Tides. The Stripers got the first runs of the day starting in the third inning when a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Michael Reed scored Sean Kazmar. Gwinnett added 2 more in the fourth inning thanks to 3 consecutive hits to start the inning, extending the early lead to 3-0. The Tides came in and tied the game back up after 6 innings, but Gwinnett had one more run in the tank and it came thanks to a throwing error by Norfolk. Sean Kazmar reached on said error and then advanced to third on a walk and a ground out, setting up Rio Ruiz for a two out single that gave Gwinnett the lead and the game. Austin Riley put the ball in play on all four of his plate appearances, including two line drive outs, but none of those balls fell and he finished 0-4 on the day.
Lucas Sims came into this start riding a 14 inning scoreless streak, and early on in the contest he continued that dominance at the expense of the Norfolk offense. Sims cruised through the first two inning before allowing a lead off double in the 3rd inning, then in his first real sniff of trouble in 3 games got a key strikeout to preserve the scoreless streak. After a leadoff single in the 5th Sims struck out the next three batters, giving him 5 on the day and an 18 inning scoreless spell. In the 5th that came to an end, as Sims allowed a sacrifice fly to bring in the first run of the game. After struggling through that inning Sims was brought out to try for one more, but allowed two hits to open the inning and was pulled. Elian Leyva came in and after an error from Kazmar allowed a game-tying double, erasing Sims chance for his first win since June. Leyva settled in nicely and didn’t allow an earned run over 2 2⁄3 innings, and Jacob Webb got the save with a perfect ninth inning.
Next Game: 7/15 vs (47-43) Norfolk Tides @ 4:05 PM ET
GWN: Wes Parsons (4-2, 2.98 ERA)
NOR: Chris Tillman (0-1, 8.38 ERA)
(41-52) Mississippi Braves 2, (45-46) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1 F/10
Travis Demeritte, LF: 1-4, .218/.313/.387
Alex Jackson, C: 0-3, BB, .200/.282/.329
Ricardo Sanchez, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 5.06 ERA
Ricardo Sanchez’s sparkling start set the Braves up well and they got a walk off win in extra inning. The offense for Mississippi got off to a good start in the game thanks to Tyler Nelsony, who knocked his second home run of the season to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. With Sanchez cruising on the mound the offense could take a nap, and nap they did going the next 8 innings without scoring a run. The Braves had a couple of small chances throughout the game, including Sanchez’s lead off single in the third inning, but none managed to materialize into runs and the Blue Wahoos were eventually able to fight back and get one after Sanchez had departed. The Braves stopped Pensacola dead in their half of extra innings, giving the Braves a prime opportunity to walk off. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Connor Lien over to third base, and an errant pick off attempt brought him home giving the Braves a win. A win is a win, I guess, congratulations offense for doing the absolute minimum.
Ricardo Sanchez put together his longest start in almost 2 years, dominating throughout and keeping a struggling offense in the game. It was not the smoothest of beginnings for Sanchez as he allowed a hit to lead off the game, but he worked out of the first inning and then started mowing down batters. Sanchez set down 12 consecutive batters before allowing another hit, then worked out of that 5th inning with a pop out and a strike out. The sixth was the toughest inning for Sanchez as he allowed 2 base hits with one out in the inning, but a caught stealing put Sanchez in a prime position and he was able to escape unscathed. Sanchez completed 7 shutout innings for the first time in his career, with this being just the third time he’s even completed 7 with the last coming on August 23, 2016. Two batters after Sanchez was replaced, Pensacola had tied the game up off of reliever Kelvin Vasquez. In the 9th Chad Sobotka came on to pitch and set down the Blue Wahoos in order. Then Sobotka was brought out again in the tenth inning and struck out the side on 11 pitches to prevent the gifted runner from scoring and give the Braves offense the chance for their walk off.
Next Game: 7/15 vs (45-46) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 6:00 PM ET
MIS: Bruce Zimmermann (2-0, 1.45 ERA)
(41-48) Florida Fire Frogs 11, (43-47) Daytona Tortugas 3
Cristian Pache, CF: 2-5, .286/.314/.443
Riley Delgado, SS: 3-5, RBI, .286/.375/.333
Jared James, LF: 3-4, 3B, 3 RBI, .227/.296/.377
Joey Wentz, SP: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1.95 ERA
On the strength of a seven run seventh inning and 6 2⁄3 scoreless from Joey Wentz the Fire Frogs were able to cruise to a win over Clearwater. The Fire Frogs scored first in the fourth inning on a 2 run home run from Garrison Schwartz, his third of the season. In the fifth inning Florida strung together four consecutive hits, one from Cristian Pache, to score two more runs and make the lead 4-0. Then in the 7th inning the runs started raining in, with the same crew as the fifth inning rally starting things off. Marcus Mooney was hit by a pitch to lead the inning off, then the bases were loaded off hits from Pache and Riley Delgado. A Brett Cumberland walk scored the fifth run of the game before Jared James cleared the bases with a triple that made it 8-0. That was not the end of things, as another hit by pitch, a Lucas Herbert double, and an error on a Mooney ground ball brought in three more runs to give the Fire Frogs an 11-0 lead. With Mauricio Cabrera no longer in the bullpen, the lead seemed safe.
As strong as the Fire Frogs offense was so too was Joey Wentz, who got off to a dominant start in the game. Wentz allowed a hit to lead off the game, but allowed no damage in the first inning thanks to a double play. Wentz forced another key double play in a tie game in the fourth inning, getting a fortunate line drive out to double off the runner who had just doubled off of him. Wentz allowed a double to lead off the 5th inning and a single to follow, but also worked out of that jam to keep the Threshers scoreless. Wentz finished with his strongest work in the 6th and 7th, retiring all but the one batter who reached on an error and striking out two. Brandon White recorded the last out of the seventh inning, but struggled in the 8th inning allowing three runs thanks to allowing three walks in the inning. In total White allowed 4 walks in the game, throwing only 19 of his 40 pitches for strikes. Jon Kennedy finished out the game with 1 1⁄3 innings scoreless, allowing no walks or runs and striking out two batters.
Next Game: 7/15 vs (43-47) Clearwater Threshers @ 11:00 AM ET
FLO: Kyle Muller (4-1, 3.08 ERA)
CLR: Adonis Medina (8-3, 4.92 ERA)
(47-45) Rome Braves 1, (47-44) Augusta GreenJackets 6
Drew Waters, CF: 1-2, 2 HBP, .289/.341/.505
William Contreras, C: 1-3, HR, BB, RBI, .291/.355/.430
Jasseel De La Cruz, RP: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4.93 ERA
It was a rough day all around for the Rome Braves, although the good news is that the two top prospects on the team performed well. Drew Waters led off the game with a singe and then stole second base, his 16th stolen base of the season. No luck for the Braves, as they came away empty handed, and the next two innings weren’t very noteworthy. The fourth inning featured the big blow of the game-a home run from William Contreras. That was Contreras’s 9th of the season and third of the month, amazing as he wasn’t even with the team for the first three weeks of the season. Rome added no more runs in the game although Contreras did a bit more with a walk and Waters was hit by two pitches. That was not nearly enough to keep pace with the Augusta offense, who scored early and left Rome in the dust.
Keith Weisenberg had a solid start on the mound despite his early struggles, getting into the 5th inning and striking out 6 batters. The problem for him came with a one out home run in the first inning which scored 2 runs and marked the only ones against him. After allowing 3 hits and a walk before recording the second out he only allowed 2 more hits and no walks against him over his next 4 1⁄3 innings. Weisenberg finished the game as perhaps his strongest, striking out 3 consecutive batters before a soft base hit ended his day. Jasseel De La Cruz was brought on for relief and struggled for the third straight outing, but seemed fine early. DLC hadn’t allowed a hit after his first full inning but then gave up a home run to the first batters he faced in the 7th. Jasseel allowed a walk and two hits in the 8th inning, then an error, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly helped bring in three more runs and make the score 6-1 in favor of Augusta. De La Cruz has been awful over his last 4 games, really struggling with his command and allowing 20 earned runs over 15 2⁄3 innings.
Next Game: 7/15 vs (47-44) Augusta GreenJackets 5:05 PM ET
Probable Starters TBD
(15-9) Danville Braves 17, (17-8) Bluefield Blue Jays 4
Justin Dean, CF: 2-4, 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI, .310/.394/.437
Griffin Benson, DH: 3-5, HR, BB, 4 RBI, .314/.368/.514
Tanner Lawson, SP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.86 ERA
The Danville offense exploded scoring a season high 17 runs to destroy the first place Blue Jays. Danville got off to a nice start with a run in the first inning thanks to Justin Dean and his double, then things really started to get ugly in the 2nd. A hit by pitch and a walk set up Griffin Benson for a 2 run single, and then three consecutive walks scored a run and led to two more runs on a walk and a wild pitch. Up 6-0, the Danville offense stayed quiet until the 6th inning, and then all hell broke loose. Griffin Benson led off the inning with a solid home run, and the ENTIRE Danville Braves lineup reached base before the first out was even recorded. At that point 6 runs were in on the inning and the bases were loaded, and Benson brought in another with an RBI ground out. Two walks scored another run, a ground out scored the 9th run, and then Andrew Moritz knocked in the tenth run of the inning on the 9th hit- a double. A single from Greg Cullen brought in the 11th run of the inning before the final out was recorded. In total 16 players came up to bat, there were 10 total hits, 2 walks, a hit batsmen, 3 doubles, a triple, and a home run. The only player in the inning without a hit was Ricardo Rodriguez, who was hit by a pitch.
It was a bullpen day for the pitching staff, starting with Tanner Lawson who kept the game scoreless across two innings. Jake Higginbotham completed 3 scoreless innings, and has now started his career on a 12 2⁄3 inning streak without allowing an earned run. In that span he has struck out 13 batters and walked 5 with opponents hitting just .149 against him. Bradley Welsh was brought out and worked two scoreless innings, but when brought out for a third struggled before allowing a 3 run home run that broke the shutout going for Danville. Zach Seipel was brought in to finish the remainder of the 8th inning and did so successfully, but in the ninth had his own set of troubles. Seipel allowed 4 hits to open the inning and score a run, and then with the bases loaded got a strikeout and a pop out before being pulled with one out left for Zach Daniels. Daniels used just four pitches, striking out the final batter and stranding the bases loaded.
Next Game: 7/15 vs (17-8) Bluefield Blue Jays 6:05 PM ET
DAN: Dilmer Mejia (2-2, 2.40 ERA)
(8-13) GCL Braves 3, (13-8) GCL Phillies East 7
Michael Mateja, CF: 3-4, 2 2B, RBI, .471/.571/.706
Luis De Jesus, SP: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 0 K, 3.86 ERA
Yoeli Lopez, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER,1 BB, 2 K, 8.44 ERA
Michael Mateja had a good day at the plate for the GCL Braves, but that was about all that went right in a 7-3 loss. The Phillies jumped out to a 5-0 lead by scoring in each of the first four innings before the Braves finally got on the board. Mateja led the inning off with a double and then came in to score the first run on an RBI single by Ray Hernandez. Two innings later the Braves added another run, this time with Mateja doubling to bring in Luidemid Rojas. The GCL Braves offense tacked on one more run in the 8th inning after Mateja reached on an error by the third baseman. Trey Harris followed him up by doubling into the gap in right center to score Mateja.
Luis De Jesus was on the mound for the Braves, and I have to say it’s bizarre to see a player walk 5 batters in such a short outing and not record inning strikeouts. After recording the first two outs of the game De Jesus hit a batter then walked two more before throwing a wild pitch that scored the games first run. He only walked one batter in the second inning, but thanks to a throwing error and a base hit allowed the second run of the game. De Jesus then allowed 2 more walks and two more hits in the third inning before being pulled for Jackson Lourie. Lourie allowed a run in the fourth inning on the game’s only home run. Gabriel Rodriguez had a strong outing with a perfect 5th inning, striking out two of the batters that he faced. Lisandro Santos allowed 2 runs over two innings, and Yoeli Lopez had the best outing of his career with two strikeouts in his lone inning of work. Walner Polanco had the best day of any pitcher for the Braves, striking out the side in his lone inning of work.