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Braves Minor League Recap: Braden Shewmake homers; McHugh continues rehab

The system pulled off a sweep across three games, with Shewmake, McHugh, and Owen Murphy providing the big performances

MLB: JUL 21 Marlins at Braves Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We had our first really great night on the farm as all three Atlanta Braves affiliates that played their scheduled games took home runs. Up in Triple-A Braden Shewmake has been playing well as of late and the same could be said for Rome’s DH/C Adam Zebrowski. Augusta had to fight to hold onto their win over Myrtle Beach, and were led by another strong outing by Owen Murphy.

(6-12) Gwinnett Stripers 7, (7-10) Omaha Storm Chasers 3

Box Score

  • Luke Waddell, SS: 1-4, 2B, BB, RBI, .269/.344/.308
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 3-5, 2B, HR, RBI, .250/.273/.469
  • Allan Winans, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3.43 ERA
  • Yacksel Rios, RP: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0.00 ERA

Gwinnett is suddenly on a tear, and a part of that has been the resurgence from Braden Shewmake who has now homered in consecutive games. Both teams got solid performances from their starting pitching and through five innings the game was knotted at 1-1. Gwinnett’s lone run came in the second inning when Yolmer Sanchez doubled and then came in to score on two wild pitches as Omaha starter Austin Cox struggled with his control. In the sixth inning Gwinnett got to face Omaha’s bullpen and they finally broke through in a rally led by a walk from Luke Waddell and one of Shewmake’s three hits. A fielding error on a Sanchez ground ball then broke the tie and put he and Shewmake in scoring position where a sacrifice fly and Joshua Fuentes double would push the Gwinnett lead to 4-1.

Gwinnett came out in the seventh inning ready to extend their lead and Forrest Wall led off the inning by sneaking a bloop hit into left field. Luke Waddell came up with one out in the inning and an opportunity to do damage but lifted a fairly routine fly ball down the left field line. Unfortunately for the Storm Chasers the left fielder badly misplayed the ball, possibly influenced by the night’s strong winds, and came up just short on a dive attempt in what was ruled as a double for Waddell. Sanchez stayed with his hands in every big inning and brought Waddell home with a base hit to give Gwinnett that very comfortable five run lead. Omaha got back on the board with a run in the eighth inning but Shewmake delivered his third home run of the season to get that run back going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Allan Winans has quietly put up an impressive season for Gwinnett, possibly putting himself in contention for a long relief role if the need were to arise. Winans was exceptional in this game and the only time he stumbled was on a solo home run from our old pal CJ Alexander in the second inning. In his first time through the Omaha lineup Winans struck out four batters and forced three ground balls, both of which are themes as he’s been able to have early success in games with his sinker and fantastic changeup. This time Winans was able to carry his early performance deep into the game and scattered three hits and a walk over six innings of one run ball. Ty Tice bridged the game with a scoreless seventh inning to bring up the late innings arms for Gwinnett. Jon Olczak did not last long in the eighth inning, allowing four hits and a line drive out before being pulled with the bases loaded and a run in. Joe Harvey had a fire to put out and the tying run at the plate, and he did so by forcing Alexander into an inning-ending double play. Harvey came out in the ninth inning to try to complete the save, but was unfortunately called for the trainer after a 1-0 pitch and was removed from the game. Yacksel Rios struggled after having to quickly warm up and allowed the runner Harvey walked to score before he was able to get the final two outs and secure Gwinnett’s fourth straight win.

(3-9) Mississippi Braves, (9-3) Montgomery Biscuits PPD

(5-7) Rome Braves 8, (8-5) Hudson Valley Renegades 0

Box Score

  • Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 0-4, .255/.397/.362
  • Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 1-3, BB, RBI, .267/.421/.311
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, .407/.515/.778
  • Collin McHugh, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
  • Rolddy Munoz, RP: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA

Adam Zebrowski has been the man for Rome over the past week, and in this game he provided the bulk of the offense in an 8-0 win. It was Zebrowski who broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, unloading on a 3-1 breaking ball that spun a bit and cranking it over the center field wall to make it 2-0. The scoring did not slow from there and in the fifth inning Kadon Morton and Brandon Parker notched back-to-back doubles to extend the lead another run. The next came from Brandol Mezquita an inning later as he got a meatball from the Renegades reliever and crushed it for his first home run of the season. The game was still somewhat in reach going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but that was going to quickly change. Another double from Parker and a walk to Cory Acton had Rome threating to score again, but there were two outs in the inning when Hudson Valley brought in Clay Aguilar. Aguilar did not enjoy his time on the mound and walked the first two he faced on four pitches each. With the bases loaded and a run in Aguilar did not want to walk in another run and so served up a 3-1 fastball down the pipe. Unfortunately he gave that to the hottest hitter on the team and Zebrowski split the game in left center field which brought in all three runners to break the game open.

While Rome did ultimately run away with this game it wasn’t clear they would early, but High-A hitters weren’t much of a match for the rehabbing Collin McHugh. McHugh stretched a scoreless outing across three innings, throwing 23 of his 34 pitches for strikes and striking out two batters. His relief was Rolddy Munoz, who has really come into his own this season and put together a brilliant extended outing. While Munoz still struggled with command, no one can deny his raw stuff and he had that on full display with five strikeouts in 3 23 innings. He ended the outing with a flurry, striking out four of the final seven batters he faced. Hunter Riggins didn’t allow a hit as he closed out the game, going 2 13 innings.

(5-6) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (6-6) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3

Box Score

  • Tyler Collins, LF: 0-4, .250/.333/.321
  • Ambioris Tavarez, DH: 1-3, BB, .154/.250/.205
  • Justin Janas, 1B: 2-4, RBI, .261/.393/.348
  • Owen Murphy, SP: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
  • Chad Bryant, RP: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Owen Murphy is proving himself worthy of a first round pick, and his early development may have him on the fast track to the next level. First though, we’ll go ahead and look at the struggling Augusta lineup. It wasn’t the prettiest of games for them, but in the fourth inning Ethan Workinger finally broke through with their first hit which was followed by another well placed single by Justin Janas. Still they were down to their final out in the inning when EJ Exposito bounced a routine one right back to the mound. The Pelicans pitcher scooped it up easily then threw the ball about 40 feet towards first base where it kicked past the fielder and into right field to score Workinger and Janas. Well, the lead didn’t last long as Augusta would give those runs back in the fifth inning and going into the latter half of the game it was tied at two apiece. This is the point where the offense decided to do a little work, and David McCabe got it started with a leadoff single in the sixth inning. After Workinger took his place following a force out he stole second base and then scored the go ahead run on Janas’s second hit of the game. A walk to Nick Clarno had two runners on with two outs in the inning and Mahki Backstrom up at the plate looking to do damage. He did come through with a knuckling line drive that squeaked into the outfield and scored Janas, but he also made the final out of the inning as he tried to advance to second on the throw home which was cut off and pegged back to second base to get him.

Owen Murphy day is a wonderful day for fans of this system, and he was on it in his second start of the season. His fastball command has been fantastic in these two starts, and today was no exception especially early in the outing. Both of his first inning strikeouts came on the fastball and in total four of his five came on the pitch. The other strikeout came in the third inning on a nasty slider. His location on his slider and curveball were a bit shakier this game and wasn’t able to finish at bats quickly which is really the main reason it took him 63 pitches to get through 3 13 innings before he was pulled. Jared Johnson finished the fourth inning by quickly retiring the final two batters, but he struggled in the fifth inning and it led to two runs scoring to tie the game. One of the runs was unearned due to an error in the inning, but he also allowed two hits and then walked in a run with two outs before he got out of the inning. Chad Bryant pitched three scoreless innings of relief, but they certainly never felt safe as he stranded a couple of runners in each of those to narrowly escape with Augusta’s lead intact. Elison Joseph was brought in to close the ninth inning and was characteristically wild. Joseph allowed three walks in the inning and a base hits, which loaded the bases with one out and the tying run on third base. Joseph then showed the good parts of his game by striking out the final two batters to narrowly hold on to a GreenJackets win.

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