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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 4/15: Joey Wentz looks like Joey Wentz as Nolan Kingham shines again

Gwinnett and Mississippi pile up the runs as the younger arms look sharp on the Atlanta Braves farm.

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Four big name pitchers in the Atlanta Braves organization took the bump on Monday night. Two of the younger arms shined for their teams, while the upper levels found themselves lighting up the scoreboards with runs aplenty. Let’s take a look at how the action went down Monday night on the Braves farm.

Gwinnett Stripers 9, Charlotte Knights 8

Box score

  • Ryan LaMarre, RF: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 4 RBI
  • Austin Riley, 3B: 0-for-3, 3 R
  • Mike Foltynewicz: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 6 K

Foltynewicz — after two good rehab starts — came out and struggled on Monday night, both hittable and a bit wild, issuing four walks and landing just 49 of his 85 pitches for strikes. Though the Stripers went down early, the bullpen was able to stop the bleeding, allowing the Stripers to mount the comeback. Jordan Harrison allowed two runs over his 1.1 innings pitched, but was credited with the win. Jose Rafael De Paula and Elian Leyva went the final four innings to clamp down the hold and save respectively.

Raffy Lopez and LaMarre were the stars, driving in five of the runs. Lopez went 3-for-3 with three runs scored to go along with LaMarre’s big day. Travis Demeritte also had a tremendous day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and two RBI. His average is now up to .355 on the season, and more importantly the strikeouts are way down.

4/16 Probable Starter: Bryse Wilson

Mississippi Braves 13, Chattanooga Lookouts 4

Box score

  • Drew Waters, RF: 3-for-6, 1 R
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 BB
  • Joey Wentz: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (unearned), 1 BB, 7 K

Well, hello Joey Wentz, it’s so good to see you again. The 21-year-old lefty is coming off an injury-plagued 2018 after a thrilling 2017 campaign that left a few question marks entering the season. His first start was ok, but Monday night he looked like the Joey Wentz of old pounding the strike zone and landing 53 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Michael Mader came on next and had his second rough outing, allowing three runs to score without allowing a hit thanks to three walks. He was replaced by Philip Pfeiffer who got out of the jam, while Jason Hursh tossed a perfect eighth and ninth to lock down the win.

The bats were obviously going Monday night as six M-Braves recorded multi-hit games. Waters and Pache got it going atop the line up, while Alejandro Salazar, Jonathan Morales, Luis Valenzuela, and Connor Lien all added two hits apiece at the bottom of the order. Valenzuela and Lien provided the fireworks, Valenzuela with a grand slam and Lien with a two-run bomb in the eighth, combining for seven of Mississippi’s RBI.

4/16 Probable Starter: Tucker Davidson

Clearwater Threshers 6, Florida Fire Frogs 0

Box score

  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-for-4
  • William Contreras, C: 0-for-4
  • Tristan Beck: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

Beck took the bump looking for his first solid start of his young Braves career. The 22-year-old would have to wait, struggling again, allowing four runs, three of which came on a towering home run to right from Nick Maton. The positive is that Beck continues to strike people out in bunches, posting his second straight start with six strikeouts. Cutter Dyals got the innings he needed to get back on track, going 3.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out five, before Justin Kelly came on to throw the last two innings, allowing two runs in the ninth.

There isn’t much to write about offensively as the Fire Frogs, who were held to two hits on the night. Greyson Jenista got one and Brett Langhorne got the other. Both were also erased on a caught stealing. Izzy Wilson did steal a base of his own after drawing a walk, his second of the season.

4/16 Probable Starter: TBD

Columbia Fireflies 3, Rome Braves 2

Box score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Andrew Moritz, LF: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • Nolan Kingham: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R (unearned), 0 BB, 1 K

Kingham is the story here. The 22-year-old righty out of Texas has now had three outstanding starts for Rome. He’s not a big strikeout guy — this was his second outing with just one — but he’s also walked just one batter on the year, and is an extreme ground ball pitcher it seems, inducing 10 on Monday night. He was highly efficient, hitting 53 of his 76 pitches for strikes. Tanner Lawson came on for 1.2 innings of relief and couldn’t hold the lead, before Kurt Hoekstra came on. He allowed the game-winning home run to Anthony Dirocie in the top of the ninth.

At the plate, the young Braves keep hitting. Justin Dean had yet another double and came around to score on an Andrew Moritz single. Moritz picked up his fourth multi-hit game in his first eight games of the season. Speaking of multi-hit games, the red-hot Trey Harris picked up his fourth in a row. The outfielder is now 11-for-16 in his last four games and is hitting .425 on the young season. It’s yet another close loss for Rome who look like it is tinkering on getting a very dangerous motor going.

4/16 Probable Starter: Jasseel De La Cruz

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