Close games dotted the system on Friday night, with only one game not being decided by a one run margin. Tucker Davidson delivered the strongest pitching performance of the bunch of starters, while Justyn-Henry Malloy’s big day for Rome continued his strong season.
(27-25) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (18-33) Louisville Bats 3
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-4, .265/.324/.387
- Alex Dickerson, LF: 1-4, HR, .231/.253/.440
- John Nogowski, 1B: 1-1, 2B, 3 BB, .242/.347/.333
- Tucker Davidson, SP: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 4.05 ERA
- Brandyn Sittinger, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 8.20 ERA
Gwinnett’s battle with the Bats went back and forth throughout, but ultimately ended with them allowing the final run and going down in a close loss. Stripers left fielder Alex Dickerson opened the scoring for both sides with his second home run in as many days. The Stripers had a bit of a beat on Louisville starter Deck McGuire and had doubles in the first and third innings, but stranding runners in scoring position came around to bite them. John Nogowski doubled to lead off the fifth inning in a 1-1 ball game, and this Gwinnett did not let an opportunity go to waste. After a couple of walks to load the bases Hernan Perez delivered a go ahead RBI single, though Delino DeShields was thrown out at home on the play to end the inning. The Stripers had a hard time against the bullpen of Louisville and didn’t record another hit after that RBI single. They drew two walks in the seventh inning but Braden Shewmake grounded into a double play to end that inning. Gwinnett came up in the ninth trailing 3-2 and down to their finally out John Nogowski gave them their final gasp of life with a walk. He was pulled for a pinch runner in Drew Waters, who was thrown out trying to steal second base two pitches later to end the game.
Tucker Davidson put together a solid final line for the Stripers, but it wasn’t without trouble as quite a few balls found holes and had him in jams throughout. Davidson worked around four singles to pitch the first three innings scoreless, but in the fourth inning finally gave up some solid contact in the form of a leadoff home run which tied the game. Davidson allowed a double in the fifth inning which he was able to work around, but he allowed two more doubles in the sixth inning which once again brought the game back even at 2-2. Davidson’s lone clean inning was his last as he set down Louisville in order in the seventh to cap off his night. Brandyn Sittinger pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth inning, but Gwinnett and ninth inning reliever Seth Elledge couldn’t escape the wrath of Louisville second baseman Juniel Querecuto. Author of a three hit night, including the home run and RBI double, Querecuto led off the top of the ninth inning with his fourth hit, this another double. The next batter ripped a base hit up the middle, scoring Querecuto to put Louisville on top in the game.
Next Game: 6/4 vs (18-33) Louisville Bats @ 6:05 PM ET
(24-25) Mississippi Braves 4, (18-24) Montgomery Biscuits 3
- Jalen Miller, LF: 2-5, HR, SB, .278/.386/.500
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 3-4, BB, RBI, .249/.349/.519
- Hendrik Clementina, DH: 2-5, .291/.346/.440
- Tanner Gordon, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 6.15 ERA
- Indigo Diaz, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3.86 ERA
Mississippi gave up a late comeback, but they didn't go down and were able to walk this game off in extra innings. Just two batters into the bottom half of the first the Braves were already holding a lead, when Jalen Miller crushed a dead center tank shot over the batter’s eye for a solo home run. The offense otherwise did little until the fourth inning, when a big opportunity arose as they loaded the bases with one out. A double play then put out a big fire, but Mississippi kept coming back with opportunities in the middle innings. Logan Brown led off in the fifth inning with a single and came in to double the Mississippi lead when the lineup flipped and Andrew Moritz doubled into the right center field gap. Mississippi loaded the bases again in the sixth inning, and once again Riley Delgado grounded into a double play although this time there was no outs on the board so a run came in to score. The hits never stopped coming for Mississippi, though for the remainder of regulation they could not seem to find a way to score. Two hits each in the seventh and eighth innings went to waste as the big hit never came and Montgomery was able to come back and tie the game. After Troy Bacon shut down the Biscuits in the top of the tenth the Braves had a prime opportunity to win the game, and they did just that with Drew Lugbauer lifting a walk off single to put Montgomery to bed.
Tanner Gordon continued a theme of good starting pitching on the farm system, giving the Braves five scoreless innings. Gordon allowed a leadoff single to start off the night, but got the next guy to line into a double play and didn’t allow another hit through the first four innings. He did allow two walks in the third inning but struck out two batters to strand the runners and keep Mississippi’s lead. Gordon only got hit a big hard in the fifth inning with a leadoff single and a double, but a caught stealing on a strikeout kept the damage at bay and he was able to get a fly out to end his outing. Mississippi’s bullpen started out with solid performances, with AJ Puckett throwing a scoreless sixth inning and Indigo Diaz striking out the side in a scoreless seventh. The eighth inning was not so kind as Justin Yeager couldn’t find his command and allowed two walks, threw three wild pitches, and let in two runs on a base hit. Tyler Ferguson took the job of closing out the game in the ninth inning, and he came up short as a two out RBI double tied the game up and set it to extra innings. Troy Bacon had the task of trying to shut down the Biscuits with a runner on second base and did a fantastic job as a strikeout and pop out to first base put him in good position for the fly out to end a scoreless inning.
Next Game: 6/4 vs (18-24) Montgomery Biscuits @ 7:05 PM ET
(28-21) Rome Braves 2, (29-19) Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, BB, .264/.363/.402
- Javier Valdes, C: 1-3, HBP, .262/.392/.429
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 2-3, HR, BB, .308/.407/.509
- Royber Salinas, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 5.32 ERA
- Dylan Spain, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 7.27 ERA
Rome put up a late comeback effort but fell just short in a one run loss. The Braves found themselves in a 2-0 hole early in this game, and the offense struggled to get going as that lead held through five innings. The Braves finally got on the board in the sixth inning thanks to Justyn-Henry Malloy who led off with a home run to cut the deficit to 2-1. While Rome had more hits than Bowling Green in this game, sequencing bit them hard as they struggled to string any hits together and went into the ninth inning trailing 3-2. Finally the hits started to go Rome’s way with Beau Philip getting the ninth inning rolling with an infield single. After defensive indifference allowed Philip to advance with two outs pinch hitter Drew Campbell ripped an RBI single which brought Rome within a run. Leadoff hitter Cody Milligan then got Campbell into scoring position with another base hit, but Vaughn Grissom couldn’t come through and struck out on three pitches to end the game.
Royber Salinas did not have the wild strikeout totals in this game, but despite a loss still put together a solid outing. Salinas allowed an earned run on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the first inning, and again struggled in the second by allowing two more hits. With two outs Salinas delivered a wild pitch to score the second run of the game. Salinas seemed to settle down after this and get into a rhythm, as he allowed just one more hit in the game and finished with a perfect fifth inning and two strikeouts. Salinas may not have been totally on his game, but the bullpen was and it started with Dylan Spain. Spain retired six of the seven batters he faced, including three strikeouts, with the only runner reaching against him coming due to an error to lead off the sixth inning. Those errors, of which Rome made three, finally came back around when a throwing error from Malloy started out Alec Barger’s outing. Barger could not work out of that trouble as the next batter ripped an RBI single that extended Rome’s deficit back to two runs. Austin Smith pitched a perfect ninth inning and struck out one batter.
Next Game: 6/4 vs (29-19) Bowling Green Hot Rods @ 6:00 PM ET
(26-22) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (19-30) Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
- Mahki Backstrom, 1B: 0-2, 2 BB, .176/.309/.376
- Rusber Estrada, C: 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .264/.418/.528
- Brandon Parker, DH: 1-3, BB, .247/.410/.395
- JJ Niekro, RP: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.42 ERA
- Miguel Pena, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.61 ERA
Finally we get to Augusta, the only game mostly free of the late game drama. While the other affiliates struggled to put together rallies the GreenJackets got most of their scoring done at once with a four run fourth inning that drove them to a win. They had a big opportunity in the first inning as well, as they loaded the bases on two hits and a walk but stranded all of the runners. Following this they fell behind 2-0, which didn’t last long as Rusber Estrada got all of those back at once on a two run home run in the fourth inning. Still with no outs the GreenJackets loaded up the bases on a Stephen Paolini base hit and two walks, before a throwing error brought home two runs and gave Augusta a lead they would hold for good. Estrada added a second home run in the seventh inning for some insurance, giving him his second multi-home run game of his professional career.
JJ Niekro has quietly turned into Augusta’s best player, and despite some early struggles in this game he delivered another marvelous outing to move to 4-0 on the season. A late start to this game may have contributed to some early shakiness, as he allowed two hits in the first inning before working out of it unscathed. Two more hits in the second inning brought in the game’s first run and that deficit further grew with a home run in the third inning. Following this Niekro was incredibly effective, with a leadoff single in the fourth inning being the last batter to reach base against him. He struck out five of the next six batters following that single and retired twelve straight to end his day. Augusta’s bullpen was effective enough to close out the game, though it did not come completely drama-free. Miguel Pena was fantastic in the eighth inning and struck out two batters with only an error ruining his line. Juan Mateo had the ninth inning and he was not as clean, as following a strikeout he walked the bases loaded to put the tying run on base. Finally Mateo was able to find the strike zone and an infield fly and strikeout ended the game in Augusta’s favor.
Next Game: 6/4 vs (19-30) Kannapolis Cannon Ballers @ 6:05 PM ET