Seth Keller was the system’s top performer of the day after a brilliant outing for Augusta, but he was unfortunately not the level’s biggest news. JR Ritchie, who left his most recent start with an undisclosed injury, was officially placed on the injured list. On the opposite end of the spectrum Ehire Adrianza was in the starting lineup for Rome as he attempts to make his way back to his bench role in Atlanta.
(13-22) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (19-16) Nashville Sounds 4
- Luke Waddell, 2B: 0-3, .207/.340/.268
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, .386/.462/.632
- Michael Soroka, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 5.47 ERA
- Yacksel Rios, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1.15 ERA
Vaughn Grissom kicked off this game by helping Gwinnett to an early lead when his one out single in the first inning and a balk put him in scoring position. Yolmer Sanchez delivered the scoring strike with a base hit and Gwinnett held a 1-0 lead but it did not last long as Michael Soroka allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning. Gwinnett quickly began a comeback effort with a leadoff triple in the second inning by Joshua Fuentes, who scored the Stripers’s second run on a base hit from Charlie Culberson. Unfortunately that Culberson single was the final time the Stripers would get a runner on base in the game as the Nashville pitching staff retired 23 batters to end the game and struck out 17 of those.
Michael Soroka’s start got off awfully as a battle with the leadoff hitter ended in an eight pitch walk. He then allowed a hit to the next batter and following a strikeout gave up a three-run home run to Keston Hiura which ended up being the game-deciding hit. Soroka continued to strike as he allowed a double and a walk to the next two hitters, but finally got out of it with an infield pop out and like his opponent was able to finish strong. Soroka retired nine straight until a two out hit in the fourth inning, and nothing was made of that as the next hitter grounded out to end Soroka’s day. In total Soroka got five ground outs in the game, a welcome sign as his ground ball rate has been a bit lower than career norms this season. Nick Margevicius kept things rolling with three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and the Sounds only got an insurance run off of Yacksel Rios who has been the best reliever on the roster this season.
(11-18) Mississippi Braves, (14-15) Chattanooga Lookouts PPD
(14-15) Rome Braves 9, (10-18) Asheville Tourists 4
- Ehire Adrianza, SS: 1-4, 2 RBI
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 3-4, BB, RBI, .221/.369/.385
- Drake Baldwin, DH: 1-1, 2B, 2 BB, 2 RBI, .208/.389/.389
- Rolddy Munoz, SP: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.86 ERA
Rome weathered a first inning storm and pulled ahead late to win this game. Asheville took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but the Braves had an answer and it came in the bottom of the second. Brandol Mezquita and Kadon Morton each doubled to score a run and then flip the lineup over when Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. and Ehire Adrianza would also get hits that brought home Morton for the second run. Drake Baldwin then drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly and the score stayed 3-3 until the fifth inning. Asheville got back on top in the fifth but Baldiwn walked to lead off the bottom of the frame, chasing the Tourist starter and setting up a tying rally. A walk to Geraldo Quintero moved Baldwin into scoring position and Keshawn Ogans tied the game back up with a base hit through the right side of the infield. More walks would set the Braves up to win the game, as Morton, Kilpatrick. Baldwin, and Zebrowski all drew one with the former two of those scoring on sacrifice flies. Two more hits in the seventh inning from Morton and Mezquita along with a double steal set up the Braves to get even more. Kilpatrick singled to score Mezquita, then on Rome’s fifth successful steal of the day Kilpatrick got to second base and Morton scored on an error. Finally Baldwin capped off the scoring with an RBI double, his fourth time on base in the game.
Rome went with Rolddy Munoz as their opener and he had his first poor game in a while. Asheville smacked him around for three hits and three runs which would cut his start short at just an inning. This put pressure on Luis Vargas to give Rome some length and boy did he as he pitched the next 5 2⁄3 innings. It wasn’t all roses for Vargas as he did allow six hits — half of those in the run-scoring fifth inning — but he did a fine job of preserving the bullpen and leading Rome to a win. The bullpen behind Vargas shut down the Tourists even further with Ronaldo Alesandro striking out three batters in 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings. The final inning went to Jonathan Hughes who allowed a leadoff walk but would end the game by forcing a double play.
(14-15) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (11-19) Charleston Riverdogs 6
- Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 2-4, .206/.325/.304
- Jair Casanova, CF: 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, .233/.313/.433
- Jorge Bautista, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 3.43 ERA
- Seth Keller, RP: 4 P, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.95 ERA
Augusta battled back late in this game, but fell short by a run. The GreenJackets were the first on the board in the second inning as Ethan Workinger led off with a base hit then advanced around on a wild pitch and base hit from Nick Clarno. Augusta would get another chance in the inning after EJ Exposito singled to put two runners on, but a double play ended a good early scoring opportunity. The GreenJackets could not break through in the middle innings but finally in the seventh trailing by five runs they got the line moving. Clarno walked with one out, setting up a chain wherein Exposito doubled and and Keck Andrew Keck walked to load the bases for Jair Casanova. Casanova has been one of Augusta’s best hitters over the past couple of weeks and kept that going by launching a grand slam that brought the GreenJackets just a run away. Ambioris Tavarez put a ride into one with two outs, but it fell just short of the warning track and Augusta wouldn’t have a hit following Casanova’s grand slam. Tavarez had a solid game with two hits, though the first was a dribbler to third base that he beat out, and importantly didn’t strike out in the game. His strikeout rate is still atrocious, but has been slowing trending down over the past few weeks as the swing changes he’s made have started to solidify.
Jorge Bautista’s command got him in trouble in this game and after setting down six straight to start the game the RiverDogs started to figure him out. Bautista walked the leadoff hitter in the third inning, but it wasn’t until the second time through the order that Charleston broke through with a hit although it scored that leadoff walk to tie the game. Then the game got uglier as Bautista allowed three hits in the fourth inning including a go-ahead two-run home run to Cooper Kinney. Bautista then walked the leadoff batter again in the fifth inning and his defense let him down with back-to-back errors which led to two unearned runs scoring to make the game 5-1. Seth Keller got the latter half of the game, pitching so efficiently that he didn’t even get particularly close to where his pitch limit has been at in recent outings. Keller allowed three one out hits in the sixth inning which scored a run against him, but the latter of those were balls that were chopped straight into the ground and just happened to find the weak spots in the defense. Following this Keller retired nine of the next ten batters, including four strikeouts, with the only runner in this time coming on a fielding error from Tavarez. Keller has been a stellar performer, posting a 0.95 ERA and only two walks over 19 innings this season.