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Braves Minor League Recap: Nacho Alvarez records three hits

Alvarez had his best game of the season but it wasn’t enough as Rome lost 10-5

Ignacio Alvarez prepares to swing Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

There were a number of interesting performances from Atlanta Braves prospects on Sunday afternoon, but it was overall a disappointing day as the teams came away with just one win. Notably Braden Shewmake kept his hot streak going with two more hits.

(7-13) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (8-11) Omaha Storm Chasers 5

Box Score

  • Luke Waddell, SS: 0-5, .194/.262/.222
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 2-4, 2 SB, .278/.307/.386
  • Nick Margevicius, SP: 3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5K, 9.00 ERA
  • Roddery Munoz, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1.29 ERA

Gwinnett came into this game looking to sweep the Storm Chasers but fell short despite a big first inning. Forrest Wall started off the game with a double and three batters in Gwinnett held a one run lead thanks to a single from Nick Solak. Braden Shewmake followed that up with a single and a stolen base to set up two runners in scoring position and both of them ended up scoring to hand Gwinnett starter Nick Margevicius a solid lead. This was unfortunately all of the scoring the Stripers would muster in the game as they never again had two hits in the same inning. Gwinnett finished this week 5-1 and a big part of that has been the bounceback from Braden Shewmake. Shewmake went hitless in the opener but still finished the week with an OPS of 1.159 including two home runs, eight runs scored, and five stolen bases.

Margevicius had a rough day in his first even Gwinnett start as he allowed eight hits in three innings. After allowing a run in the first two innings he allowed the Storm Chasers to string together five straight to open the third inning, with the only reprieve being a caught stealing. Finally Margevicius got the final two batters, but Omaha had drawn even and would take the lead in the next inning. Nolan Kingham came in to relieve and walked the first batter he faced, which would turn into the game’s winning run as a wild pitch, stolen base, and base hit brought him around to score. Kingham ended up going two innings but struggled to find the strike zone throughout the game with only 14 of his 26 pitches going for strikes. Brian Moran pitched a quiet sixth inning before turning the ball over to Roddery Munoz who seems to be firmly entrenched in a relief role now. Roddery’s command problems continued to plague him in this game as he walked two batters over two innings and threw fewer than half of his pitches for strikes. Munoz has thus far had success by ERA, but his peripherals have been rough and he’s been fortunate to so far avoid giving up home runs despite leaving some fastballs over the plate.

(5-10) Mississippi Braves 3, (10-5) Montgomery Biscuits 2

Box Score

  • Cal Conley, SS: 1-4, .231/.322/.288
  • Cade Bunnell, 3B: 1-3, BB, RBI, .200/.294/.289
  • Domingo Robles, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 3.38 ERA
  • Trey Riley, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 7.94 ERA

Mississippi ended their week on a good run, winning the final two games of the series in close fashion to salvage something from a tough homestand. Mississippi fell behind by a run early, but got another big hit from Hudson Potts who flipped the score on a two run double in the bottom of the fourth inning. An inning later and Cade Bunnell would extend the lead on an RBI single, bringing around Cal Conley who had previous;y recorded a hit and stolen base. Jacob Pearson, hero of last night’s extra innings win, tripled with one out in the seventh inning to set up a scoring opportunity but the Braves couldn’t cash in and left it up to the bullpen to hold on to a slim lead.

Domingo Robles made his second start for the Braves, and through three innings he had thrown up zeros with the only hit against him coming on a first inning single. After cruising relatively scot-free through the first third of the game he allowed singles on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning to create the first sniff of trouble for either side. This is when he started to lose it and walked two straight batters to force home a run before he got a strikeout to end the inning. Robles then came out and worked around a one out walk in the fifth inning before handing the ball over to his bullpen. Jake McSteen was lights out in the sixth inning, but allowed a leadoff hit in the seventh inning which would bring the tying run to the plate. Montgomery failed to cash in another baserunner in the inning, but two ground outs and a wild pitch from McSteen was enough to bring the runner around and make it a one run game. With the pressure on in the eighth inning Mississippi called on Trey Riley and he turned in his best outing of the season by striking out the side in order to send it to the final inning. Coleman Huntley made it interesting and loaded the bases with two outs, but finally recorded a strikeout to close out a Braves win.

(5-9) Rome Braves 5, (10-5) Hudson Valley Renegades 10

Box Score

  • Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 3-3, BB, RBI, .283/.433/.321
  • Drake Baldwin, C: 0-5, .206/.386/.353
  • Luis Vargas, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 9.31 ERA

Rome’s bullpen was a mess on Sunday afternoon and it led to a big loss as Hudson Valley put up ten total runs. The Braves capitalized on an early mistake, turning a leadoff error in the first inning into the game’s first run when Nacho Alvarez cashed in an RBI single. Alvarez was a huge part of a solid offensive effort in this game, notching three hits and a walk while accounting for three of Rome’s five runs. The second of those came with the Braves trailing by a run in the fourth inning as he drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on a base hit from Stephen Paolini. Hudson Valley answered with two runs to retake the lead, but the Braves were right back there to tie it in the bottom of the fifth inning. Eliezel Stevens led off the inning with a single and with two outs Alvarez recorded his second hit to extend the inning. Adam Zebrowski was walked to load the bases and then the Renegades third baseman made a critical error by dropping an infield pop up that allowed two runs to score. The next inning Geraldo Quintero cracked a single to give Rome a lead and it was on the bullpen to hold it. Drake Baldwin struggled in this game, striking out four times in five plate appearances.

Luis Vargas didn’t have the best of games, but he managed to get outs when he was cornered and didn’t allow a hit with runners in scoring position. Vargas allowed two runs to score in the game on sacrifice flies, but when he left the game in the fourth inning Rome was hanging on and was tied in the game. Daysbel Hernandez was the first arm out of the bullpen, and his rehab appearance went awfully as he had zero control of where the ball was going. Hernandez walked the first two batters in the inning and then gave up a go ahead single, but that should have been the end of it. With two outs in the inning Geraldo Quintero couldn’t handle a bouncing ball up the middle for the final out and a run came in to extend the inning. Hernandez was pulled from there and Samuel Strickland got the final out of the inning. Strickland played with fire in the sixth inning but stranded the bases loaded which put him in line to take the win if Rome could hold onto the lead. He made sure that lead lasted the next four pitches as he allowed a solo home run to tie the game before being pulled in the seventh inning. Ronaldo Alesandro got the final two outs of that inning, but once again the defense let Rome down and a two out error extended the eighth inning which led to three runs scoring to put Hudson Valley on top 8-5. Rome’s bullpen then allowed two more runs in the ninth inning to truly seal the loss.

(5-7) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (7-6) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 8

Box Score

  • Tyler Collins, LF: 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBI .229/.317/.314
  • Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 1-4, .174/.269/.217
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-4, HR, .324/.435/.541
  • JR Ritchie, SP: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 7.11 ERA
  • Jorge Bautista, RP: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA

For once it was Augusta’s pitching staff which let them down, as JR Ritchie could not get out of the fourth inning and the GreenJackets never recovered offensively. Augusta had an early lead in this game, with the Pelicans starter having an awful go of his control and walking four batters in the second inning to force in a run. An inning later and David McCabe made it a 2-0 game as he went with a pitch the opposite way and drove it over the bleachers in left field for his second home run of the season. The game then went downhill, and Augusta’s inability to consistently produce contact let them down in any comeback attempt. Tyler Collins did get them a two run double in the seventh inning and had a solid day overall, but Augusta only had five total hits and added to their league-worst strikeout rate with 12 more.

JR Ritchie’s command wasn’t spectacular, but for three innings it was good enough as he was able to bit Myrtle Beach hitters primarily with his curveball. Ritchie recorded five strikeouts through those three innings, and the only hit against him came on a ball that jammed the batter but was popped just into no man’s land in left field for a cheap hit. The next inning started with what David McCabe thought was a line out to him at third base, but the umpire ruled the ball hit the ground and from there the game unraveled. Ritchie allowed five consecutive hits and suddenly the Myrtle Beach bats which seemed befuddled once through the lineup were locked in on everything he threw. Ritchie got a strikeout to end his day, but the damage was done as he had allowed five earned runs and another would score unearned as a runner he left on base was brought in by an error. Ritchie’s main red flag as an amateur was his tendency to see a significant dip in his stuff and success later in starts, and this was hopefully a fluke but was also not a way to disprove those concerns. Jorge Bautista, the original scheduled starter before rain pushed this game back, took over for the next three innings and had mixed results. Certainly his slider could still get him strikeouts (five other three innings) but he struggled with his command and allowed two runs on two hits and three walks.

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