It was a solid night for the Atlanta Braves minor league system. Though Mississippi lost its bout to Mother Nature and was rained out, Gwinnett and Florida were able to walk away victorious. A once-top prospect looked the part, while the Fire Frogs got above .500 with a thrilling late-inning rally ending in walk-off style.
Let’s take a look at the top performers.
Gwinnett Stripers 7, Durham Bulls 2
- Rafael Ortega, centerfield: 3-for-5, two runs
- Andrés Blanco, second base: 2-for-4, one run, two RBI
- Kolby Allard: 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 run (unearned), 0 walks, 4 strikeouts
This was the start every Braves fan wanted to see for Allard. Gwinnett came out early and gave the 21-year-old lefty a six-run cushion, allowing him to settle in and straight deal. Allard cruised through the first five innings, landing 38 of his first 59 pitches for strikes, getting four punch outs with no walks. He allowed a leadoff single in the sixth that got to third on an error by Adam Duvall before handing the ball to Jose Rafael De Paula for the final out of the sixth. Connor Johnstone and Grant Dayton combined to pitch three hitless and scoreless innings to close out the game.
Every Stripers starter got in on the hit parade, as Gwinnett tallied 13 hits. Ortega set the table from the leadoff spot with a team-high three hits as Blanco and Ryan LaMarre tallied two apiece. Sean Kazmar, Jr. got the fireworks going early with the game lone home run, a two-run bomb, in the first inning. The win moves the Stripers to 4-1 on the season.
Probable 4/9 Starter: Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Mississippi Braves at Tennessee Smokies, postponed
Tonight's series finale at Tennessee has been canceled by rain. Because the clubs do not meet again this half, it will not be made up. pic.twitter.com/3bHYXwcMlB— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) April 8, 2019
Probable 4/10 starter: Tucker Davidson
Florida Fire Frogs 7, Jupiter Hammerheads 6
- Jefrey Ramos, outfield: 2-for-5, one RBI
- Zack Soria, catcher: 1-for-4, two RBI
- Keith Weisenberg: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Florida went down early, trailing 1-0 after the first inning, but some exciting late-inning heroics ended in walk-off fashion.
Weisenberg started the game, allowing a run in the first before settling down and pitching an effective four innings. The Stanford product struck out four and walked just one before handing the ball over to John Kennedy who tossed two more innings, striking out four, walking none, but allowing an unearned run to cross. Walter Borkovich then came on and pitched a solid seventh and eight before allowing three runs to score in the top of the ninth (two earned). Despite a shaky 10th inning in which he walked a batter and allowed a run, Brandon White picked up the win.
The Fire Frogs got back in the game with a huge four-run sixth, highlighted by Ramos’ two-RBI single. After Borkovich blew the save opportunity in the top of the ninth, long-time Rome middle infielder Kevin Josephina came through with the game-tying double, scoring Izzy Wilson after his first stolen base of the season. Catcher Zack Soria played the hero, driving in Riley Delgado and Brett Langhorne in the bottom of the 10th for the walk-off win, pushing the Fire Frogs to 3-2 on the young season.
Probable 4/9 starter: Huascar Ynoa (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Rome Braves 4, Columbia Fireflies 7
- Logan Brown, catcher: 2-for-4, four RBI
- Justin Dean, outfield: 2-for-5, one run
- Andrew Moritz,outfield: 3-for-4, one run
Rome fell behind 1-0 in the second, but Brown quickly took over. He had a two-RBI single in the third and followed it up with another in the fifth to give the Rome Braves the 4-1 lead. Unfortunately, the Rome bullpen couldn’t hold things down.
Odalvi Javier started and couldn’t get out of the fifth. The 22-year-old righty finished with a line of four innings pitched, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking two. Alan Rangel picked up the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) in his four innings of work. Kurt Hoekstra and Lukas Young combined to throw the final two innings.
Hoekstra is an interesting one to watch. The former corner infielder is now converting to full-time pitcher. He hurled 1.2 innings on Monday night, striking out three and walking none, allowing just two hits. He landed 25 of his 37 pitches for strikes. The 25-year-old righty has a long way to go, but he will be a fun one to watch.
Probable 4/9 starter: Nolan Kingham (1-0, 0.00 ERA)