Pitching was the name of the game down on the farm on Wednesday. With a former top pitching prospect continuing to work his way back from injury and a current top arm showing out, it was a good day if you were a Braves minor league squad.
(17-23) Gwinnett Stripers 10, (24-17) Memphis Redbirds 4
- Charlie Culberson, RF: 2-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R
- Joshua Fuentes, 1B: 2-5, HR, RBI
- Joe Hudson, C: 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
- Michael Soroka, SP: 4.2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 5 K
Gwinnett used an early scoring barrage to carry them to a rout of Memphis on Wednesday afternoon.
The Stripers kicked off the day by plating three runs in the top of the first inning. After Eli White flew out to leadoff, Vaughn Grissom drew a walk for Gwinnett’s first baserunner. Nick Solak grounded into a force out, swapping places with Grissom. Yolmer Sanchez doubled Solak to third and back-to-back walks by Joe Hudson and Hoy Park brought home Solak for the first run of the game.
One batter later, Daniel Robertson singled home Sanchez and Hudson, extending the Gwinnett lead to 3-0.
Michael Soroka made his seventh start of the season for the Stripers on Wednesday and despite allowing a run in the home half of the first inning to make it 3-1, he otherwise looked like the Soroka we knew pre-injury.
Tossing 4.2 innings, the 25-year-old righty allowed just the one run while striking out five and walking one. He also scattered just two hits on the day.
Gwinnett would snatch that run back in the top of the second inning as Charlie Culberson sent a homer over the left centerfield fence, making it 4-1 Stripers. White would follow that up with a double in the next at-bat and would move up to third on a Grissom groundout. He would later score courtesy of a sac fly off the bat of Sanchez extending the lead to 5-1.
In the top of the third, Hoy Park would leadoff with a walk but would be erased by a Robertson double play. However, Joshua Fuentes would follow that up with a home run into the left field seats for a 6-1 Gwinnett lead.
Neither squad plated a run in the fourth inning, but the Stripers would tack on three more runs in the top of the fifth. After Sanchez walked, Joe Hudson brought him home on a two-run shot, making it 8-1 Gwinnett. Park would then single and advance to third on a pickoff error by Redbirds pitcher Dalton Roach. Robertson would come through with a sac fly of his own to make it 9-1.
Soroka would give way to the bullpen with two gone in the bottom of the fifth as Brian Moran would take over. Moran would get the final out of the fifth, but would allow Memphis to cut into the lead by two runs before Roddery Munoz relieved him. Munoz would allow a two-run homer — one earned run issued to Moran — to make it 9-4.
Culberson would plate his second run of the day on a two-out, RBI-double to score Park to extend the lead to 10-4 Stripers.
After a rough bottom of the sixth, Munoz would toss two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. Nolan Kingham would take over in the home half of the ninth to close out the game and give Gwinnett the win.
With the victory, Gwinnett has won four out of their last five games and two-in-a-row.
(15-19) Mississippi Braves 0, (18-17) Montgomery Biscuits 10
- Beau Philip, 2B: 1-2, BB
- Jesse Franklin V, RF: 1-3
- Luis De Avila, SP: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
This one was… ugly, to say the least. So we will try to recap this one swiftly.
Things got off to a relatively decent start for Mississippi, as starter Luis De Avila struck out the side in the bottom of the first inning.
Then, things began to go south and it happened in a hurry. Montgomery plated three runs in the second inning, three more in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth en route to a 9-0 lead.
Offensively, things weren’t much better for the Braves. Tallying only one hit through the first six innings, the first major scoring opportunity didn’t come for Mississippi until the top of the seventh.
The Braves loaded the bases after Jesse Franklin V and Landon Stephens laced back-to-back singles and Beau Philip walked. However, the next three Braves would be retired in order to strand all three runners and keep Mississippi off the scoreboard.
Montgomery would add another run in the bottom of the eighth inning, making it 10-0.
In order to save the bullpen, first baseman Drew Lugbauer would be called on to pitch with one out in the eighth inning. While he retired the only two batters he faced — including a three-pitch strikeout — Lugbauer being required to pitch is a perfect indicator of how Wednesday night went.
(17-17) Rome Braves 3 , (12-21) Hickory Crawdads 1
- Drake Baldwin, C: 1-4, HR, RBI
- Keshawn Ogans, SS: 2-4, 2B
- Bryson Horne, 1B: 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
- Daniel Martinez, SP: 5.2 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 4 K
Rome got back to .500 on the season with a narrow win over Hickory on Wednesday night.
On the mound, Daniel Martinez got the start and put together a successful outing for the Braves. Going 5.2 innings, Martinez limited the offensive damage to just one run and only allowed four hits and a walk. He also struck out four on the day as well.
The lone run would come in the bottom of the second inning as Hickory kicked off the scoring. However, that’s all the offense the Rome pitching staff would allow on the day. Martinez would give way to the bullpen with two gone in the bottom of the sixth and Hayden Harris, Nick Howard and Peyton Williams would combine to allow just two hits, holding the Crawdads scoreless in the final 3.1 innings.
Rome managed to put a runner in scoring position in the top of the second inning, but their first run wouldn’t come until two innings later.
In the top of the fourth, Drake Baldwin turned on the seventh pitch of his at-bat and sent the ball over the left centerfield fence for a leadoff, opposite field home run, tying things up at 1-1.
The Braves would take their first lead of the night in the top of the sixth inning. Adam Zebrowski worked a two-out walk and Keshawn Ogans moved him up to third on a ground-rule double. Bryson Horne would bring both Zebrowski and Ogans home on another double, making it 3-1 in favor of Rome.
The Braves would manage to get at least one runner on in each of the final three frames but couldn’t tack on any further insurance, but it ultimately wouldn’t matter. As mentioned above, the bullpen for Rome was lights out, allowing just two Crawdads to reach base in the final 3.1 innings.
(17-17) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (16-18) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 0
- Bryson Worrell, RF: 3-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, R
- Jeremy Celedonio, DH: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI
- Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Jorge Bautista, RP: 4 IP, 2 H, 6 K
Much like their High-A counterparts, Augusta also got back to .500. In the process, Spencer Schwellenbach tossed his best — and longest — outing of his professional career thus far.
The 22-year-old right-hander went five strong innings, allowing just two hits and a pair of walks while striking out four Pelicans. After Wednesday’s performance, Schwellenbach has tallied a 1.74 ERA across 20.2 innings while fanning 16 in the process.
Schwellenbach was fantastic on the day, but Jorge Bautista was just as dominant for Augusta in the win as they needed just two arms to get through all nine innings. After taking over in the bottom of the sixth, Bautista would spin four scoreless innings of his own with six strikeouts and like Schwellenbach, he only allowed two hits.
Offensively, things were relatively quiet through the first three innings despite Francisco Floyd tripling to kick off the top of the third. The GreenJackets would fail to advance him 90 feet further, carrying the scoreless affair deeper into the night.
Augusta would finally break the tie however, in the top of the fourth inning. Bryson Worrell laced a one-out double into center field and then advanced to third on a balk. Jair Casanova would bring Worrell home on a fielder’s choice to make it 1-0 GreenJackets.
The next scoring opportunity would come in the top of the sixth inning. E.J. Exposito walked to leadoff as Worrell would triple him home in the next at-bat, making it 2-0.
The GreenJackets would add on to their lead in the top of the eighth as Exposito would draw his second leadoff walk of the night. He would advance two batters later as Casanova reached on an error and Dawson Dimon brought Exposito him home courtesy of a sac fly textending the lead to 3-0.
Leading by three, the final blow dealt by Augusta would come on a two-run homer off the bat of Jeremy Celedonio, extending the GreenJacket lead to 5-0, which would stand as the final thanks to Bautista’s performance out of the bullpen.