What was expected to be a busy day down on the farm with four games on the docket, only 2 games were played due to the weather. Both Gwinnett and Augusta were both rained out, leaving Rome and Mississippi as the lone 2 affiliates to take the field on Friday night.
As for the 2 games played, the results were a bit of a mixed bag, to say the least.
So without further ado, let’s get into last nights results.
(2-0) Rome Braves 5, (0-2) Greenville Drive 3
- KeShawn Ogans, 3B: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R
- Nacho Alvarez, SS: 1-5, 1 RBI
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB
- JJ Niekro, SP: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Rome moved to 2-0 on the year following another solid outing by the offense and the bullpen as they beat Greenville by a 5-3 final. The Drive jumped out to an early 1-0 lead following an RBI groundout in the top of the 1st inning. That lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Rome would plate three runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
Following a Stephen Paolini walk and a Brandon Parker single, KeShawn Ogans would bring the two of them home on an RBI-double to right field. Ogans would be brought home 6 pitches later as Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. singled him home on a line drive into right field, giving Rome a 3-1 lead.
Both squads would notch a run in the 3rd inning as a bases-loaded walk to Parker brought home Bryson Horne, making it 4-2 Rome.
JJ Niekro would produce an okay outing in his 10th career start for Rome, spinning 3.2 innings of 2-run ball before giving way to the bullpen. The 3rd run of the game for Greenville came due to some self-inflicted wounds as Hunter Riggins would issue 4 walks in the inning but would somehow manage to limit the damage to only 1 run in the inning.
Carrying a 4-3 lead into bottom of the 6th inning, Rome would have gladly used a little bit of breathing room as they headed into the late going. They got that relief courtesy of Nacho Alvarez who singled home Kilpatrick Jr. on an opposite field single, his second opposite field RBI hit in as many games to extend Rome’s lead to 5-3. The bullpen would manage to hold the Braves’ 2-run lead through the 9th, maintaining Rome’s perfect record through the first 2 games in the season.
(0-1) Mississippi Braves 0, (1-0) Biloxi Shuckers 3
- Luke Waddell, 2B: 1-2, 2 BB
- Cal Conley, SS: 0-4, 2 K
- Roddery Munoz, SP: 4 IP, 3 G, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
- Bullpen: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
While Rome enjoyed a pleasant day on the diamond, the same could not be said for their Double-A counterparts in Pearl so we’ll keep this short and sweet. It was a rough go of it for the Braves’ Double-A squad as Mississippi was no-hit until Cade Bunnell managed to squeak out an infield single to the Biloxi second baseman in the bottom of the 7th inning. While Mississippi was able to string together two additional hits in the late going, that was all the offense the Braves were able to muster in their season opener.
As the offense left much to be desired, the pitching was actually on point, particularly the bullpen. Roddery Munoz got the start for Mississippi, going 4 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 4 walks and whiffing 3 Shuckers. While Munoz line was somewhat solid for his first outing, it was the bullpen that shined the most on Friday.
Hayden Deal, Alec Barger, Victor Vodnik and Kyle Wilcox combined for 5 innings while allowing only 1 hit, 1 walk and striking out 7. Most notably of that group, Vodnik struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the 8th inning on only 10 pitches, a good start for the young righty who could potentially find his way into Atlanta’s bullpen if things break right for him this season. Offensively, noteworthy prospects such as Cal Conley and Drew Lugbauer went 0-for with a pair of strikeouts on the night.