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Braves Minor League Recap: AJ Smith-Shawyer dominates for Rome

Smith-Shawyer spun five scoreless innings while fanning six to lead the Braves to a win on Friday.

AJ Smith-Shawver delivers a pitch for the Augusta GreenJackets Image Credit: CRSA Photography

It was a so-so day down on the farm for Braves affiliates. Some of the organization’s top arms were on display, with results varying across the minors.

(9-15) Gwinnett Stripers , (10-14) Buffalo Bison

  • Joe Dunad, 3B: 2-3, HR, RBI
  • Joe Hudson, C: 1-3, 2B, R
  • Dylan Dodd, SP: 3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, BB, 4 K

Box Score

Looking to put together their second winning streak of three games or more, it was a day to forget for lefthander Dylan Dodd and the Gwinnett Stripers on Friday.

Getting the start for Gwinnett, Dodd would only manage to go three innings, while allowing six earned runs on six hits. After tossing two scoreless innings to kick things off, the third inning would turn out to be a disaster for Dodd and the Stripers as all six runs he allowed would come in the frame.

On the day, Stripers pitchers would allow nine runs on 12 hits in the loss.

Offensively, things were a tad bit better, albeit not much.

Only managing to register six hits on the day, Gwinnett was only able to scratch across two runs on the day. Joe Hudson would score on an error in the top of the fourth to give Gwinnett their first run of the night. In the seventh inning, Joe Dunad would launch a solo, two-out homer beyond the left field fence to make it 9-2 headed into the eighth.

That would be all the offense Gwinnett could manage as they dropped the fourth game of the series to Buffalo.

(7-12) Mississippi Braves 3, (11-8) Biloxi Shuckers 8

  • Andrew Morits, LF: 2-4, HR, RBI
  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 1-3, 2B
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K

Box Score

Much like their Triple-A counterparts, the baseball gods were not kind to Mississippi on Friday.

Bad defense combined with a lackluster night on the mound led to the Braves dropping the fourth game of the series.

Lefty Luis De Avila started on the mound for Mississippi and while he pitched fairly well, those behind him would lead to a short start and a lot of damage. The first batter of the game for Biloxi would reach via error, the first of three by the Braves on the night, and would later come around to score to stake the Shuckers to an early 1-0 lead. Biloxi would tack on another run in the bottom of the second and three more in the fourth, extending their lead to 5-0.

Mississippi would finally get on the board in the sixth on an Andrew Moritz solo homer. The Braves would get another run in the top of the eighth as Jacob Pearson would score on a Cal Conley groundout, making it 5-2 Biloxi.

The Shuckers would break things open in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring three runs to make it 8-2 and essentially putting things out of reach despite Mississippi getting a run back in the top of the ninth on an RBI-double off the bat of Drew Lugbauer, making it 8-3 which would be the final.

(7-10) Rome Braves 6, (12-6) Greensboro Grasshoppers 0 (Game 1)

  • Brandol Mezquita, RF: 1-2, HR, 2 R, RBI
  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, R, Sac Fly
  • Kadon Morton, LF: 2-3, R
  • AJ Smith-Shawyer, SP: 5 IP, H, BB, 6 K

Box Score

While things were a bit rougher throughout the rest of the system, Rome showed up and showed out, bringing home the one of two wins

amongst Atlanta’s minor league affiliates.

Getting the start on the mound, AJ Smith-Shawyer continued his stellar start to his High-A career. Tossing five innings, the 20-year-old righty allowed just one hit while holding Greensboro scoreless on the day. He would also strike out six batters and allowing just one walk. Through three starts on the year, Smith-Shawyer has yet to allow an earned run across 14 innings and has struck out 23 opponents.

Also on the mound, Jonathan Hughes tossed two innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one and whiffed one as well.

Offensively, Rome got on the board in the second inning, courtesy of a Bryson Horne sac fly bringing home Geraldo Quintero. The Braves would get another run in the top of the third as Brandol Mezquita launched a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield wall for a solo shot, making it 2-0 Rome.

Horne would add two more RBI to his credit, as he would smash a home run of his own in the top of the fourth inning, extending the lead to 4-0. Rome would be able to tack on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning on a Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. would drive in Mezquita on a sac fly. With Drake Baldwin at the plate, Kadon Morton would scamper home on a wild pitch, making it 6-0 Rome for the final.

Game two was postponed due to rain and will be made up at a later date.

(6-10) Augusta GreenJackets 1, (10-7) Columbia Fireflies 5 (Game 1)

  • Justin Janas, 1B: 1-3, 2B, R
  • Ethan Workinger, DH: 2-3
  • Owen Murphy, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB 4 K

Box Score

In game one of a doubleheader, Owen Murphy would get the start for Augusta, looking to build on early success he had been able to string together through his previous two starts.

He was able to do so and managed to keep Augusta in contention as he only allowed two earned runs across four innings and struck out four. In three starts, Murphy has spun 11.1 innings while posting a 1.59 ERA and striking out 15. He would be tabbed for the loss in game one, but his offense didn’t exactly do much to help out the cause.

Tyree Thompson managed to toss two scoreless innings in relief, striking out three.

At the plate, it was a rough go of it for the GreenJackets. Posting only six hits in the game, Augusta would trail 5-0 headed into the final frame.

The lone run of the game would come on a Nick Clarno groundout which scored Justin Janas, making it a final score of 5-1

(7-10) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (10-8) Columbia Fireflies 4 (Game 2)

  • Justin Janas, 1B: 2-3, 2 RBI, R
  • E.J. Exposito, 2B: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB
  • Andrew Keck, LF: 2-3, 2B
  • Nolan Martinez, SP: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 6 K
  • Landon Harper, RP: 4.1 IP, H, R, 6 K

Box Score

While things may have been a let down in game one, Augusta bounced back in exciting fashion in the nightcap.

After Ambioris Tavarez singled and Ethan Workinger doubled him to third, Augusta jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Justin Janas singled them both home.

That lead would be short lived, however, as Columbia would get both runs back in the home half of the second inning. The Fireflies would take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run, making it 3-2 Columbia.

Augusta would tie things up in the top of the 5th, as Tavarez would score on a wild pitch, scoring his second run of the game.

Knotted up at 3-3, neither Augusta nor Columbia could plate a run in the seventh inning, sending game two into extra innings.

With Ethan Workinger starting the inning on second base, David McCabe flew out and Janas was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Both runners would move up on a passed ball before E.J. Exposito brought them home on a two-RBI double, giving the GreenJackets a 5-3 lead.

Columbia would plate a run in the bottom half of the inning, but that’s all they would get as Augusta would close the door and seal off the win.

Nolan Martinez started for Augusta and allowed three earned runs before giving way to Landon Harper, who did a phenomenal job out of the bullpen. Harper tossed 4.1 innings, allowed just one unearned run and striking out six Fireflies and more importantly, holding things at bay long enough for Augusta to retake the lead.

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