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Braves Minor League Recap: Nacho Alvarez continues hot hitting, Jair Casanova leads Augusta to extra-inning win

While the big league club may have lost, Atlanta’s MiLB affiliates had a fairly successful day.

Ignacio Alvarez prepares to swing Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

It was a banner day down on the farm as Atlanta’s MiLB affiliates went a combined 4-1 while outscoring their opponents 37-19.

(13-21) Gwinnett Stripers 12, (18-16) Nashville Sounds 5

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Eli White, CF: 3-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB
  • Nick Solak, LF: 1-5, HR, 4 RBI
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, 6 K

Box Score

A monster sixth inning helped lead Gwinnett to a win, snapping a three game losing streak.

The Stripers jumped out to an early lead, as Eli White sent the very first pitch of the game into the seats for a solo homer, to stake starter Jared Shuster to a 1-0 lead. White would score his second run of the game in the top of the third, as Vaughn Grissom doubled him home to extend the Gwinnett lead to 2-0.

Shuster ran into trouble in the bottom of the third inning, as he allowed three runs on four hits and a sac fly, giving Nashville the 3-2 lead. Gwinnett got that run back in the top of the fourth.

Yolmer Sanchez walked to lead things off and Joe Hudson and Luke Waddell tallied back-to-back singles before Charlie Culberson brought Sanchez home on a sac fly, tying the game at 3-3.

Both teams went scoreless in the fifth inning before the bats caught fire for the Stripers in the top of the sixth.

Gwinnett plated nine — yes you read that right — nine runs in the frame as 13 Stripers would come to the plate.

So let’s try and break down the massive inning as concisely as possible.

After Nick Solak flew out in the first at-bat of the inning, Sanchez doubled and was brought home by a Joe Hudson single one batter later. Luke Waddell walked and Charlie Culberson, Hoy Park and Eli White rattled off three straight singles to bring home two more runs, making it 6-3 Gwinnett. Forrest Wall drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Charlie Culberson and Grissom reached via catcher’s interference to bring home Park, making it 8-3 Stripers. Then, to cap off the scoring in the inning and on the night, Solak launched a grand slam, extending the lead to 12-3 headed into the seventh inning.

Nashville managed to get two of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to cut the lead to 12-5. But the enormous sixth inning would prove to be more than enough as Gwinnett would cruise to the victory.

On the pitching side of operations, Shuster put up an okay outing, going 5.2 innings allowing four runs while striking out six batters.

(10-18) Mississippi Braves 10, (14-14) Chattanooga Lookouts 1

  • Cal Conley, SS: 2-5, 2 R
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI
  • Hudson Potts, 3B: 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, R
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Box Score

Mississippi rode a strong offensive showing and a solid outing from starter Luis De Avila to a win, their first win in their last three games and their second overall victory this month.

Tallying only five hits on the day, the Braves managed to double their hit total and scored 10 runs en route to the win.

Led by De Avila, the Mississippi pitching staff only allowed one run on the day, which came on a seventh inning single.

But the Braves offense would give their arms plenty of room to work with out of the gate.

Cal Conley would single and would later score on a passed ball in the bottom of the first inning, making it a 1-0 lead. One inning later, Hudson Potts doubled in Beau Philip to make it 2-0 and Potts would later score on an Andrew Moritz groundout to extend the lead to 3-0.

Justin Dean would draw a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third and would come all the way around to score after stealing second and a throwing error, making it 4-0. The Braves would draw four more walks in the inning, including a bases-loaded free pass by Potts to tack on to the lead making it 5-0.

The proverbial nail in the coffin would come in the bottom of the sixth, where Mississippi would plate five runs, extending their lead to 10-0 over Chattanooga.

Conley singled and Dean followed that as he was hit by a pitch. Tyler Tolve and Landon Stephens drew consecutive walks, plating Conley. Dean and Tolve would score on a Drew Lugbauer double to make it 9-0. Beau Philip brought Lugbauer home on a sac fly to extend the Mississippi lead to 10-0.

Coleman Huntley III, Daysbel Hernandez and Trey Riley would subsequently take over in relief of De Avila and would limit the Lookouts to the lone run, sealing the 10-1 win.

(13-14) Rome Braves 3, (9-17) Asheville Tourists 1

  • Nacho Alvarez, SS: 2-3, R, BB
  • Keshawn Ogans, 3B: 2-3, RBI, R
  • Kadon Morton, LF: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Hunter Riggins, SP: 5 IP, 0 H, 7 K

Box Score

It’s pretty easy to bring home a win when your starting pitcher tosses five hitless innings. And that’s exactly what Rome got in the first of two games on the day for the Braves.

Getting the start on the mound Hunter Riggins was downright filthy. Across five innings, the 24-year-old righty didn’t allow a single base runner while needing only 54 pitches (38 strikes) to do so. Riggins also struck out seven batters in his start as well.

The first three innings were relatively quiet for both squads despite Rome managing to get multiple batters on base in the first three frames.

The first run of the game would come in the home half of the fourth inning, courtesy of Rome. Keshawn Ogans singled to leadoff the inning and Brandol Mezquita walked two batters later to move Ogans into scoring position.

Kadon Morton would follow that up with a two-run double into right field, scoring Ogans and Mezquita, making it 2-0 Rome.

The Braves would tack on another run in the fifth inning, thanks to three hits. Nacho Alvarez tallied his second hit of the game on a leadoff single with a liner into left field and Adam Zebrowski then doubled him to third. Ogans would then single on a ground ball to third base and Alvarez would score on the play, giving Rome an insurance run to make it 3-0 Braves.

Asheville would get one run back in the top of the seventh to make it 3-1, but that score would hold final as Rome would win game one in seven innings.

(13-15) Rome Braves 4, (10-17) Asheville Tourists 5 (Makeup game from May 9)

  • Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 1-4, HR, RBI
  • Stephen Paolini, RF: 2-3, 3 RBI, R
  • Daniel Martinez, SP: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K

Box Score

Game two on the day for Rome went a bit in a different direction compared to the first contest.

After rain postponed Tuesday’s matchup, the Braves and Tourists squared off for the second time in the series.

Rome found itself in a hole early. With Daniel Martinez starting on the bump, he managed to get two of the first three batters he faced out while allowing a walk. He then allowed a two-run homer to give Asheville the 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Tourists would tack on another run in the top of the second on a sac fly, extending their lead to 3-0.

The Braves would start to fight their way back in the home half ot the second as Stephen Paolini singled home Brandon Parker to cut into the Asheville lead, making it 3-1.

Leading off the bottom of the third, Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. would bring Rome to within one run as he launched a solo home run over the left field fence, cutting the deficit to 3-2 headed.

After holding Asheville scoreless in the top of the fourth, Rome would finally take their first lead of the game in the home half.

Cory Acton singled to start things off in the inning and after Kadon Morton lined out, Paolini would send an 0-2 pitch past the center field wall for a two-run homer — his first of the year — to give Rome a 4-3 lead.

The lead would be short lived however, as Asheville would knot things up at 4-4 in the frame. Hayden Harris came in to relieve Martinez after he allowed back-to-back singles. Harris would allow an RBI-single to the first batter he faced tying the game. However, Harris would stop the bleeding there, getting the next two batters to strikeout to end the inning.

Asheville took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh and final inning after Ryder Jones came on in relief of Harris. The lead would prove to be more than enough as Rome would fail to score again in the game as five of the final six batters would go down on strikes.

(14-14) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (10-19) Charleston RiverDogs 7

  • Jair Casanova, LF: 2-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R
  • David McCabe, 3B-1B: 2-4, 3B, R
  • Jeremy Celedonio, DH: 1-5, 2B, RBI
  • Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K

Box Score

Augusta managed to take their third straight game — and seventh in their last eight contests — but did so in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night.

The GreenJackets dominated through the first seven innings, outscoring Charleston 6-0.

Spencer Schwellenbach started for Augusta and tossed three scoreless frames while whiffing three Charleston hitters.

Getting the scoring started on the day, Augusta plated two runs in the bottom of the second. Ethan Workinger led off the inning with a single and was subsequently caught stealing. However, Justin Janas and Nick Clarno followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Jair Casanova doubled home Janas and Clarno for the first runs of the game to make it 2-0. Four more runs would cross the plate in the home half of the fourth inning.

Nick Clarno drew a leadoff walk and two batters later, Casanova would get his third and fourth RBI on the day as he sent a two-run homer over the fence to extend the Augusta lead to 4-0. Jeremy Celedonio doubled in Francisco Floyd to make it a 5-0 lead for the GreenJackets. Augusta would add on another run in the bottom of the fifth on a Bryson Worrell groundout, making it a 6-0 game.

Neither team scored in the sixth and seventh innings as the GreenJackets carried their lead into the eighth inning.

But things began to fall apart.

Jhancarlos Lara came on in relief in the top of the fifth inning and actually tossed three scoreless frames before failing to record a single out in the top of the eighth. Lara allowed two runs before giving way to Chad Bryant who allowed two more runs to cut the Augusta lead to 6-4.

In the top of the ninth, Charleston took the lead as the Augusta bullpen continued to collapse, issuing four walks, a hit by pitch and a single in the inning as the RiverDogs plated four runs to take a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Trailing for the first time in the game, David McCabe tripled to leadoff the home half of the ninth and Janas would bring him home on an RBI-single to tie the game up. The GreenJackets would fail to score the winning run in the ninth, forcing extra innings.

With Elison Joseph on the bump for the tenth, he managed to retire in Charleston in order, sending it to the home half. Jair Casanova began the inning at second base due to the extra innings rule and just three batters into the frame, Jeremy Celedonio singled him home, giving Augusta their third straight victory by an 8-7 final.

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