The offensive excitement was lacking on Sunday afternoon as the teams combined to score only 12 runs. This despite a four home run game in Gwinnett as they failed to have any produce more than one run. AJ Smith-Shawver and Andrew Hoffmann provided the most notable positive performances with the former proving resilient after early struggles.
(17-19) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (16-20) Durham Bulls 6
- Drew Waters, CF: 0-3, BB, .290/.321/.536
- Phil Gosselin, 3B: 3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, .302/.374/.453
- John Nogowski, 1B: 1-3, HR, BB, .195/.308/.299
- Touki Toussaint, SP: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 5.16 ERA
- Nolan Kingham, RP: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.21 ERA
The Stripers concluded a tough day of games through the system with their fourth straight loss. The game kicked off in strong fashion for Gwinnett with a first inning home run from Preston Tucker, but that provided the entirety of the offensive spark in the first half of the game. Gwinnett stranded five runners over the first five innings and trailed 3-1 headed into the late frames. Finally in the sixth inning a solo home run by Phil Gosselin pushed in another run only for Durham to answer in the bottom of the sixth to push the Stripers’s deficit back to two runs. The Bulls tacked on two runs of insurance in the eighth inning and Gwinnett had one last shot to make noise. They did just that, with Gosselin homering for the second time and John Nogowski adding a home run to his tally, but both of these were solo home runs that just cut the deficit back to two where the game ended.
Touki Toussaint kept the game together for three innings despite two hit batters and a walk, but his fourth inning quickly went into the gutter. A leadoff home run tied the game and after striking out a batter Toussaint allowed a walk and another home run to give Durham the lead. Toussaint then allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases and had to be pulled from the game with just one out in the third inning. In a tough spot Gwinnett turned to Nolan Kingham and Kingham delivered with a strikeout and a pop out into foul territory to strand the bases loaded. Kingham was equally dominant in the fifth inning, ending his outing with his second strikeout. Brad Brach had a chance in the sixth inning but walked three batters and allowed a run. Seth Elledge struck out the side in the seventh inning and was followed by RJ Alaniz who allowed two runs in the eighth. Elledge had been particularly strong for Gwinnett this season with 20 strikeouts and only 2 walks in 12 2⁄3 innings. This all adds up to a 2.13 ERA and 1.24 FIP.
Next Game: 5/17 vs (20-16) Memphis Redbirds @ 7:05 PM ET
(14-19) Mississippi Braves 2, (17-16) Chattanooga Lookouts 7
- Michael Harris II, CF: 0-4, HBP, .289/.347/.481
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 3-4, 2 2B, .242/.345/.517
- Luke Waddell, SS: 0-3, BB, .303/.398/.431
- Tanner Gordon, SP: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 12.19 ERA
- Victor Vodnik, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
Mississippi’s offense struggled to produce against the Lookouts and two critical errors impacted the pitching staff and led to four unearned runs. The Braves looked ready to get on a roll early as a first inning home run from Jalen Miller and a double from Drew Lugbauer had them up 1-0 and hitting the ball hard. A two out rally in the second inning featured a bases loaded walk to Miller to score a second run and despite not coming away with anything more it seemed Mississippi was seeing the ball well. Then hits became hard to come by and the Braves couldn’t string them together. A two out error in the fifth inning and another Lugbauer double represented a scoring chance, but at this point the Braves already trailed 7-2 and this opportunity went to waste on a fly out. The last big Mississippi rally was in the eighth inning when Luke Waddell walked to lead off the inning and Lugbauer followed with his third hit to create a little hope. CJ Alexander followed with a base hit, but Waddell was thrown out at home trying to score and the next two batters were retired easily to kill the last spark for Mississippi.
Tanner Gordon’s third Mississippi start began fairly well, as despite a couple of baserunners in the first inning he was able to get through two scoreless innings with no really hard hit balls. This changed in the third inning when he allowed three extra base hits, including a two out home run, that put three runs on the board to give Chattanooga the lead. The fourth started with CJ Alexander throwing a ball away and the next three batters reaching base to load the bases and bring in an unearned run. A line out double play accounted for the first two outs of the inning, but another throwing error from Alexander brought in a run and extended the inning. Reliever Troy Bacon then allowed a two run double with all but sealed Mississippi’s fate. The bullpen for Mississippi did well after that inning, with Bacon, Indigo Diaz, Victor Vodnik, and Tyler Ferguson all pitching scoreless innings to at least keep the game somewhat in shouting distance. Vodnik struck out the side in the eighth inning and now has 14 strikeouts in 7 innings this season.
Next Game: 5/17 vs (16-17) Biloxi Shuckers @ 7:35 PM ET
(19-14) Rome Braves 1, (16-16) Winston-Salem Dash 5
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-3, BB, .302/.409/.440
- Cody Milligan, 2B: 3-4, 3B, .330/.466/.453
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 1-4, .324/.423/.486
- Andrew Hoffmann, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2.91 ERA
- Dylan Spain, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 9.49 ERA
Rome’s bid for a sweep ended in disappointment as the bullpen and offense struggled. Like the previous two games talked about the going was good early, and in the second inning the Braves loaded the bases with one out on singles. They only came away with one run on a Willie Carter sacrifice fly but felt confident after recording four hits in two innings. A second hit from Cody Milligan and a walk to Vaughn Grissom furthered the good feelings, but Rome failed to score either player and following the Grissom walk struggled to do anything. Rome found themselves trailing for the first time in the sixth inning and had two more hits to give themselves a chance to retake the lead. Unfortunately a strikeout and a fly out ended the threat. Milligan tripled with two outs in the seventh inning, but again was stranded as Rome’s offense continued to sputter.
Andrew Hoffmann did not have his best outing, but he managed to hold it together after his command gave him early fits. Two walks in the first inning and another in the second had him in trouble, but in both instances he was able to keep Winston-Salem at bay. The third inning proved even trickier with a leadoff double and another walk putting two on with no outs, but Hoffmann benefited from a double play for the first two outs before escaping on a ground ball out. That double play was a turning point for Hoffman who only allowed one baserunner over his final nine batters while striking out two. Lisandro Santos was brought in to protect the lead and had his first poor game of the season as three walks and a base hit brought home two runs in the sixth inning to give the Dash a lead. Trey Riley also struggled and allowed two home runs to extend that lead even further. Dylan Spain pitched the only good inning out of the relief corp as he had a scoreless eighth and struck out two batters. Alec Barger finished it off by allowing a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth inning.
Next Game: 5/17 @ (24-7) Aberdeen IronBirds @ 7:05 PM ET
(20-13) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (11-22) Columbia Fireflies 2
- Cal Conley, SS: 2-4, SB, .220/.281/.394
- Brandol Mezquita, RF: 0-3, BB, .333/.419/.463
- Brandon Parker, DH: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI .258/.410/.419
- AJ Smith-Shawver, SP: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 4.40 ERA
- Juan Mateo, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1.84 ERA
We all have Augusta to thank for saving us from a miserable day, as they flipped the script by falling behind early and coming back to win the game. The first six Augusta batters in the game all went down in order, with four of those via strikeout, and they found themselves trailing 2-0 quickly. Braulio Vasquez set out to change that with a leadoff double in the third inning. A base hit from Caleb Durbin scored Vasquez and the deficit was quickly cut in half. Two innings later Brandon Parker led off with a home run and it was a new ball game with the score tied at 2-2. Both sides traded scoreless relief innings until the eighth, when the inevitable Single-A bullpen shenanigans happened as one side started walking batters. Cal Conley led off the eight inning before three consecutive walks broke a 2-2 tie. Parker followed with his second RBI of the day to extend the lead before the final run scored on a balk.
AJ Smith-Shawver found himself facing the challenge of pitching twice in the same week for the first time, and despite some early struggles he responded well with a solid outing. The second batter of the game hit a home run off of Smith-Shawver to give Columbia the lead, and a second inning triple led to another run on an RBI ground out. Smith-Shawver’s command started to get the best of him as he walked consecutive batters in the third inning to load the bases with one out, but showed some mettle when he was able to reign that in. He got a double play to end the third inning and that seemed to fuel him as he struck out four of the next five batters he faced to end his outing. Isrrael De La Cruz then took over in the fifth and he was able to go 2 1⁄3 innings scoreless and only allow one runner to reach base. Juan Mateo got the win in the game as he pitched two scoreless and hitless innings to close it out.
Next Game: 5/17 @ (21-12) Charleston RiverDogs @ 7:05 PM ET