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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Pache, Jenista Shine in Wins

Cristian Pache and Greyson Jenista each had two hits in their team’s respective wins, while Kyle Muller opened his season with 3 2⁄3 shutout innings and four strikeouts.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(1-1) Gwinnett Stripers 0, (1-1) Norfolk Tides 6

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 1-4, 2 K
  • Alex Jackson, C: 0-3, HBP, 3 K
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 5.40 ERA

The Gwinnett offense faltered in their shutout loss, while Bryse Wilson provided an up and down outing in his return to the minor leagues. The Stripers didn’t have a hit through the first 5 innings, though Alex Jackson was hit by a pitch for their first baserunner in the third inning. Luis Marte led off the sixth with a base hit up the middle to break the no hitter, and the Stripers then loaded the bases on a hit batsmen and Austin Riley’s lone single of the game. The Stripers could not climb closer as Adam Duvall grounded into an inning ending double play, ending their lone major threat in the contest. The Stripers put a few men on base over the final three frames, but never came through with a big hit to push anyone home. Austin Riley struck out twice more in the game, and has 4 of them in his first 8 plate appearances of the season.

Bryse Wilson came out of the gates firing in this game, striking out two batters in a perfect first innings and then adding another in the second. The outing got hairy in the third inning after a leadoff home run and then a base hit, but Bryse was able to force a double play and then a ground ball to escape from the inning with only one run allowed. Bryse set down the Tides with 3 ground ball outs in the fourth inning, but quickly got himself into trouble in the 5th. Wilson allowed a leadoff single to our old friend Jace Peterson, then after a four pitch walk gave up two run scoring singles with still none out. Bryse then went all out, striking out the next three batters to end his outing on a major high note. The home run was the 7th Wilson has allowed in 27 innings at Triple-A, after allowing only 7 in his previous 169 innings at all other levels of the minor leagues. Bryse continued to show off improved secondary offerings, and his bump in strikeout rate has significantly elevated his future potential once he is able to repress some of these home runs. Connor Johnstone struggled in his inning and two-thirds of relief, allowing 3 earned runs and effectively putting the game out of reach for the Stripers offense. Jacob Webb pitched a clean final frame with two ground outs and no strike outs.

Next Game: 4/6 vs (1-1) Norfolk Tides @ 6:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Mike Soroka

NOR: Keegan Thompson

(1-1) Mississippi Braves 4, (1-1) Tennessee Smokies 3

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, RF: 0-6
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-5, 2B, 1 SB, 1 K
  • CJ Alexander, PH: 0-1
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 0.00 ERA

Mississippi came out on top of the Smokies in a back-and-forth contest, with Luis Valenzuela getting the game-winning sacrifice in the 11th inning. Cristian Pache doubled with one out in the first inning, but was caught trying to steal third base (with two outs) to end an early threat. The Braves did come through with the game’s first run in the second inning, with Ray-Patrick Didder scoring as he often does, singling, stealing second, advancing on a wild pitch and then scoring on a sacrifice fly from Jonathan Morales. The Braves were quiet over the next three frames with only a Morales single snuck in there. Tennessee took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning but Mississippi came back with a solo home run from Alex Wilkins to tie the game back up. The game went into extra innings still tied at 2-2, bringing up the top of the order to try to bring the run in from second base. Cristian Pache singled the designated runner over to third base and a two out fielding error from the third baseman brought in the go ahead run. Mississippi gave the run back in the bottom of the inning so it went to the 11th, and after a bunt hit, a sac bunt and an intentional walk Luis Valenzuela lifted a sacrifice fly to give the Braves the lead and eventually the game. Drew Waters may have gone 0-6 on the night, but he put the ball in play each time up and reached on a fielding error in the 6th inning. Waters only has one strikeout in his first 11 plate appearances this season.

Kyle Muller had his share of command issues in his 3 23 innings of work, but missed bats and was ultimately successful in limiting the Smokies. Muller didn’t allow a hit through his first three innings of work, and he struck out four batters but also allowed 3 walks that never came to fruition. A walk and a single led off the 4th inning, but left fielder Garrison Schwartz threw out the runner attempting to go first to third for the first out. Muller forced a fly out for the second out and final of his outing. Ben Rowen completed the inning with a strikeout and sent the Braves into the 5th inning leading 1-0. Struggled by Rowen in that 5th inning led to two runs for the Smokies and gave them the lead, and Rowen then pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Josh Graham came in to close out the game in the bottom of the 11th inning, and after a ground out advanced the runner to third base Graham struck out the next two batters to end the game with a Braves win.

Next Game: 4/6 vs (1-1) Tennessee Smokies @ 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Joey Wentz

TNS: Luis Ortiz

(2-0) Florida Fire Frogs 5, (0-2) Daytona Tortugas 4

Box Score

  • Greyson Jenista, CF: 2-2, BB, 2 RBI
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-3, HR, BB, 3 RBI
  • William Contreras, C: 0-4, K
  • Tristan Beck, SP: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.75 ERA

The Fire Frogs used a late run to beat the Tortugas in a closely-contested game. After being set down with a double play in the first inning the Fire Frogs came out strong again in the second inning, with a walk to Greyson Jenista and a single by Jefrey Ramos setting the stage for Drew Lugbauer’s first home run of the year. This gave Florida a 3-0 lead, and in the third inning a walk and Riley Delgado single set up Jenista for a sacrifice fly that brought it to 4-0. The Tortugas tied it up with a big 4th inning, and the score stayed at 4-4 over the next three frames. A double from Riley Unroe and a single from Riley Delgado put two runners on base, and Greyson Jenista knocked in his second run of the game to give the Fire Frogs a lead they would not relinquish. Isranel Wilson added two hits on the game, and has already had two extra base hits on the season. William Contreras has gotten off to a rough start with an 0-7, and despite being in the middle of all of the scoring innings did not contribute to the game offensively.

Tristan Beck spent most of his start working himself out of jams, as he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in his first three innings. An outfield assist from Jefrey Ramos and a double play allowed him to escape in his first two innings, respectively, and two strikeouts in the third got him around a single and a walk. Beck managed to retire the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning, but the day unraveled after that. Beck had just one runner on with two outs, but a double scored the first run of the game, and two subsequent hits brought Daytona back within a run. A fielding error brought in the final run of the inning, tying the game and erasing the cushion the offense had given in just one inning. This was the final inning for Beck as he reached the pitch count limit. Brandon White came in with two scoreless inning, striking out two batters and walking none. White is a name to watch for the Fire Frogs, as he struggled to get strikeouts at each of his first two partial attempts at Florida but has otherwise been a dominant reliever throughout his career. If he can get over this hurdle he could be a guy we see in Atlanta’s bullpen in the future. Jon Kennedy closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning and one strikeout.

Next Game: 4/6 vs (0-2) Daytona Tortugas @ 6:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

FLO: Freddy Tarnok

DBT: Packy Naughton

(1-1) Rome Braves 2, (1-1) Kannapolis Intimidators 1

Box Score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-2, BB
  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-4, 2B, 2 K
  • Jasseel De La Cruz, SP: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.75 ERA
  • Victor Vodnik, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Rome could not overtake an early deficit as the offense struggled to produce scoring opportunities against the Kannapolis pitching staff. Trey Harris came through with the first hit of the game for the Braves in the second inning, but was immediately picked off and the Braves didn’t have another baserunner until Harris singled again in the 5th inning (and was erased on a double play). Kannapolis starter Taylor Varnell faced the minimum in his six innings of work, but once he was pulled the Rome offense started to create some scoring chances. A leadoff double from Justin Dean put them quickly in a scoring opportunity, and Greg Cullen came through with the big hit to put them on the board. A two out walk to Harris made things interesting, but the Braves couldn’t capitalize. A two out throwing error in the ninth inning gave Rome the slightest breath of life, but a fly out ended the game with the Braves on the losing end. Three players so far have put up two games worth highlighting, led off literally by Justin Dean. Dean has produced a couple of extra base hits in his first two games and continues to be patient and see pitches and draw walks. He has an approach and a skillset that can succeed at the major league level if he can find a walk to keep his strikeouts down a bit more. Greg Cullen is going to be an on-base machine for Rome, putting everything in play and working walks and may not spend long at the level. He could be in for a Riley Delgado-like rise this season and be seen as a legitimate though fringy prospect by the eyes of a wider audience in the near future. Trey Harris has just put up bonkers numbers going 5-7 so far, and he’s a likable guy who has a chance at the major leagues, but if he can’t get there could have a future in coaching.

Jasseel De La Cruz sailed through the first two innings of his start, striking out two batters while allowing only a walk and keeping the ball on the ground. A leadoff walk got him into some trouble in the third, and a base hit set the stage for a two run triple that ultimately proved to be the deciding play in the game. DLC had his pitches limited severely and it’s going to be about staying on the field for the early stages of the season, but there were plenty of positive signs. Jasseel missed bats and was able to force a large number of ground balls despite his struggles with his control. Tanner Lawson pitched 2 13 innings of scoreless ball, striking out 4 batters in the process. The lefty will likely spend time piggybacking with Jasseel and get plenty of early relief innings. Lawson does have starter potential and once the dust settles in a couple of months could find himself in a starters role at one of the minor league levels. Victor Vodnik is getting the Tarnok treatment and will be working out of the bullpen in the early going, which is not entirely a surprise given how raw he is. Vodnik looked stellar in his first outing, striking out two batters and walking none over 2 full innings. Vodnik threw 22 of his 31 pitches for strikes and forced 3 ground ball outs. Lukas Young closed the game out with a perfect inning and two strikeouts.

Next Game: 4/6 vs (1-1) Kannapolis Intimidators 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jose Olague

KAN: Davis Martin

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