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Braves MiLB Recap: Pat Valaika continues strong first week of the season

With only Gwinnett in action on the farm, a strong start by Jackson Stephens and another good game from Pat Valaika got the Stripers a win.

MLB: SEP 30 Red Sox at Orioles
Pat Valaika
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Thursday was the last day of just Triple-A playing among the Braves’ minor league teams, so on the eve of the season opener for Mississippi, Rome, and Augusta, Gwinnett turned a strong start from Jackson Stephens and a pair of homers into their second win in their first three games.

Gwinnett Stripers 5, Memphis Redbirds 2

Box Score

  • Pat Valaika, DH: 3-4, HR, 2B, R, 3 RBI
  • Greyson Jenista, LF: 2-4, HR, R, RBI
  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-3, SB
  • Jackson Stephens, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

The Stripers beat Memphis again on Thursday, on the back of a strong outing from starter Jackson Stephens. Going up against a fairly deep and talented lineup, Stephens allowed a pair of runs on four hits and no walks over six innings, striking out seven, to get the win. Stephens was so efficient that he barely needed to cross the 70 pitch mark to make it six innings of work. Seth Elledge followed with a scoreless inning against his former team as did Connor Johnstone and RJ Alaniz to finish off the game.

At the plate, Pat Valaika continued his solid start to the year, picking up three hits including a homer and a double while also batting in three runs. Valaika is looking like a guy who could be a key piece to the Gwinnett offense in 2022 in addition to bringing big league experience and defensive versatility. Greyson Jenista had two hits of his own, including his first homer of the season, while John Nogowski had a two hit game with a double and a steal, in addition to drawing a walk. Among the prospects on the Stripers roster, Justin Dean went one for three with a stolen base while Braden Shewmake was hitless in four at bats after his hot start to the year.

Up Next:

  • Gwinnett Braves @ Memphis Redbirds: Friday, April 8 at 8:05 PM EST
  • Mississippi Braves vs. Montgomery Biscuits: Friday, April 8, 7:35 p.m. ET
  • Rome Braves @ Greensboro Grasshoppers: Friday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Augusta GreenJackets @ Columbia FireFlies: Friday, April 8, 7:05 p.m. ET

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