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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Grissom’s home run headlines Rome’s 14 run outburst

Rome played longball on Sunday night on the way to a big win over the Drive

Photo Credit: Mills Fitzner

Rome and Mississippi both had strong offensive days, with Vaughn Grissom keeping his fantastic work of late going with a three hit outing. Rome had three home runs in the game, all in the same inning, as they rolled to a win.

(37-41) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (38-40) Norfolk Tides 6

Box Score

  • Eddie Rosario, DH: 2-4, .273/.351/.330
  • Drew Waters, CF: 3-4, .254/.304/.414
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 1-4, .270/.322/.398
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 4.62 ERA
  • Victor Vodnik, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3.45 ERA

Gwinnett has had a pretty tough week, but right out of the gates on Sunday seemed poised to even up the series after the first inning. Eddie Rosario and Drew Waters drove each of the first two pitches of the game for singles to put Gwinnett in a quick rally situation. Pat Valaika singled home Rosario for the game’s first run with Alex Dickerson and Chadwick Tromp immediately following with two more RBIs to push it to 3-0. With two runners on and one out the Stripers still had plenty of opportunity to score, but a double play ended the threat. After that it was awhile before the Stripers had another real opportunity to score, as they had three hits scattered throughout the next six innings and weren’t able to string anything together until the eighth. Waters led off that inning with a single and Braden Shewmake followed to put two on with no outs, but Waters was doubled off on a line out and Dickerson popped out to end any threat there. Gwinnett got a leadoff walk in the ninth inning, but did nothing with it and fell 6-3.

There were some positives to take away from this start for Tucker Davidson, but unfortunately two big negatives ensured he and the Stripers took a loss. Davidson matched the offense’s energy with a perfect first inning and two strikeouts, but only two batters into the second inning a two run home run cut that early lead down to just one run. Davidson traded off good and bad innings in the start so the third went fairly smoothly and featured two strikeouts, but in the fourth it was back to the long ball as a leadoff home run tied the game. The damage did not end there either as a walk and two more hits in the inning handed Norfolk the lead for good. Back to an odd inning Davidson handled the fifth relatively routinely and was not given a chance to continue the pattern. Connor Johnstone and Thomas Burrows combined for a scoreless sixth inning but the rest of the bullpen could not keep the deficit at just one run. Brandon Brennan allowed a seventh inning run on another home run and Victor Vodnik allowed an unearned run in the eighth inning to bring in the sixth Tide run.

Next Game: 7/4 @ (29-49) Charlotte Knights @ 7:05 PM ET

(33-42) Mississippi Braves 8, (36-37) Biloxi Shuckers 5

Box Score

  • CJ Alexander, 3B: 2-5, 2 RBI, .246/.283/.452
  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-5, 2 RBI, .263/.343/.341
  • Cade Bunnell, 2B: 3-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, .375/.516/.708
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5.23 ERA
  • Justin Yeager, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3.78 ERA

Mississippi put on an offensive show and rode the hot bat of Cade Bunnell to a win. Drew Lugbauer’s first inning double gave the Braves a lead, but Biloxi answered with a two run inning to take a lead. Mississippi kept churning, however, and home runs from Hendrik Clementina and Cade Bunnell in the second and third innings swung the game back into their favor. Bunnell kept coming up with big extra base hits, with his fifth inning triple driving in a run before he scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3. Bunnell doubled in the ninth inning to finish a single short of the cycle and give Mississippi one last scoring opportunity to add some insurance. The Braves did just that, with Justin Dean driving in two runs on an RBI single and Andrew Moritz bringing in the eighth and final run a few batters later.

This outing kicked off quite poorly for Alan Rangel as he allowed a two run home run in the fourth inning, but he settled down and was able to shut down the Shuckers following this. Rangel relied primarily on ground balls to get through this outing, and a few of those were able to sneak through for hits, but he generally limited hard contact and didn’t allow any sort of big inning following that first. As soon as he departed in the sixth inning Hayden Deal allowed a solo home run in relief, but the bullpen did the job of holding the lead. Justin Yeager struggled with his control as usual but continues his torrid strikeout pace with two more. Yeager has pitched six consecutive scoreless outings and in that time has allowed just two hits while striking out 12 batters. Tyler Ferguson upped Yeager’s performance with two strikeouts in a perfect eighth inning before the ball went to Jake Higginbotham to close out the game. Fortunately for the Braves they had added on those insurance runs as Higginbotham allowed two home runs which cut into Mississippi’s lead but never threatened to give it up.

Next Game: 7/4 (37-33) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 7:05 PM ET

(41-34) Rome Braves 14, (29-46) Greenville Drive 1

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, .309/.394/.489
  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 3-6, .303/.399/.488
  • Landon Stephens, LF: 4-6, HR, 3 RBI, .246/.375/.517
  • Roddery Munoz, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 4.82 ERA
  • Davis Schwab, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 5.67 ERA

This game was over relatively quickly, with Rome exploding so absurdly that Vaughn Grissom took an at bat in the third inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Grissom singled and scored a run in the first inning, but that was just a preview of the fireworks that were to come from the Braves bats. Two quick hits in the second inning had a rally going and Willie Carter unloaded on a pitch for a three run home run to break the game open. Two batters later and Grissom launched one high off of the buildings in left field to add to the damage. After a Justyn-Henry Malloy base hit Landon Stephens got in on the action, crushing a third home run in the inning to make it 7-0 Rome. They matched those efforts in the third inning, with Jacob Pearson and Grissom hitting consecutive RBI doubles to make it nine runs in the game. Rome singled and walked their way to four more runs in the inning before Grissom grounded out to end the frame. Grissom did not take another at bat in the game with no apparent reasoning, though it seems most likely they wanted to just get him a few extra innings of rest. Rome’s offense just stuck it in neutral for the remainder of the game, only scoring again on a sixth inning wild pitch.

Roddery Munoz didn’t have much he needed to live up to in this game, so he decided to just have a great outing and leave no doubt as to the result. Munoz has struggled this season and wasn’t exactly shutdown in this game either, but he was able to tightrope out of trouble consistently to allow no earned runs over five innings. To be fair to Munoz all of his walks came in innings following those big offensive innings, so him having to sit for an extended period of time likely did not help him much to stay loose and locked into the game. The bullpen was even more effective than Munoz, with Davis Schwab going two scoreless innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Isrrael De La Cruz then finished it out with two hitless innings, with only a walk to break up otherwise flawless work.

Next Game: 7/4 vs (31-42) Asheville Tourists @ 7:00 PM ET

(38-37) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (26-49) Columbia Fireflies 5

Box Score

  • Cal Conley, SS: 2-5, .245/.302/.417
  • Geraldo Quintero, 3B: 1-5, HR, .268/.354/.452
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 1-2, 2B, 2 BB, .228/.347/.424
  • Samuel Strickland, SP: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1.14ERA
  • Tyler Owens, RP: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.82 ERA

This Columbia Fireflies team is one of, if not the worst full season team that I’ve seen since I started doing this and the Augusta GreenJackets just got swept by them at home in a six game series. So, that is not very good. Like most of the rest of the series this was a close one, with Augusta taking their fourth one run loss off the series. Both teams traded blows in the early going, with Stephen Paolini delivering a two run home run in the second inning that gave Augusta a one run lead. Columbia immediately answered to take the lead back, but Geraldo Quintero ripped a solo home run which tied the game 3-3 after three innings. Neither side had much to offer following this early downpour, but Augusta seemed to be on their way as a triple from Braulio Vasquez in the sixth inning brought home Adam Zebrowski and gave Augusta the lead. Augusta loaded the bases in the eighth inning but failed to add on any runs which immediately became problematic. The Fireflies took the lead with two runs in the ninth inning and the GreenJackets couldn’t cash in Caleb Durbin after he was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

This game probably won’t be going on the resume for Samuel Strickland as he allowed three runs and eight hits allowed over 4 23 innings. It could have been a lot worse, but also should have been a bit better as two of those runs were unearned. There is no question about the first inning as a single and a double scored a very earned run to give Columbia the early lead. Strickland got into trouble with two hits allowed in the third inning, though the first of those was an awkward bunt pop up that fell just out of reach of Mahki Backstrom at first base. The runs then scored on a sacrifice fly and a pickoff play in which the runner coming home beat the throw to second. After Strickland’s departure Tyler Owens continued the art of escape, allowing 2 hits and a walk but no runs over 1 13 innings of relief. Jose Montilla was the only pitcher who seemed to have an enjoyable time, allowing only one hit over 2 scoreless innings to send it to the ninth inning for Augusta. Juan Mateo got two outs quickly in the top of the ninth, but he wasn’t able to strand the runner at third base as a base hit tied the game at 4-4. After a walk Mateo choked up the lead on an infield single that allowed the runner to score easily as the ball kicked away from the shortstop on a dive attempt in the hole.

Next Game: 7/4 @ (38-37) Charleston Riverdogs @ 6:35 PM ET

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