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Braves Minor League Recap: Nacho Alvarez homers, Alan Winans spins good start for Gwinnett

Nacho Alvarez had been having a good month at the plate in May, though the power totals were a little low. He changed that narrative a bit on Sunday with a homer and a double.

Ignacio Alvarez prepares to swing
Nacho Alvarez
Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

Sunday saw the Braves system take three of four games behind a trio of strong pitching performances. Among the stars in the system on this day included a Nacho Alvarez homer as he finished a triple shy of the cycle in Rome, while 17-year-old pitcher Didier Fuentes turned in his best start of the season for Augusta. Braden Shewmake, Victor Vodnik, and Kevin Kilpatrick were among the other Sunday standouts.

Gwinnett Stripers 7, Memphis Redbirds 1

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, .250/.292/.464
  • Yolmer Sanchez, 3B: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .283/.392/.370
  • Forrest Wall, CF: 1-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB, .253/.348/.403
  • Allan Winans, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2.98 ERA

Allan Winans continued his strong start to the season with another great outing on Sunday. Winans tossed six shutout innings, giving up just four hits and no walks while striking out five. This drops his ERA below 3.00 and his WHIP to 1.06 on the season. Joe Harvey was next and threw a scoreless inning despite getting into a little trouble, allowing a hit and a pair of walks. Dereck Rodriguez finished the game off as the son of Pudge Rodriguez allowed a run over two innings in his second appearance since arriving in Gwinnett.

The offense put up seven runs without any huge games, showing a well balanced attack that saw seven of nine players in the lineup reach base. Forrest Wall had to be the star, hitting a homer and stealing a base while scoring a pair of runs, though Braden Shewmake was 2-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBI. Yolmer Sanchez also added a double in a two-hit game, and Shewmake and Sanchez were joined in the multi-hit game by Chadwick Tromp.

Mississippi Braves 5, Montgomery Biscuits 2

Box Score

  • Tyler Tolve, C: 1-2, 2 BB, R
  • Scott Blewett, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 3.62 ERA
  • Domingo Gonzalez, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.30 ERA
  • Victor Vodnik, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 4.74 ERA

Another great pitching performance in the Braves system on Sunday came out of Mississippi. Scott Blewett got the start and allowed two runs over six innings of solid pitching, giving up just four hits and one walk in that time. Domingo Gonzalez followed and kept Montgomery off the board, allowing just one walk and striking out two. Victor Vodnik got the final two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and no walks, striking out four batters in the six outs he recorded.

Mississippi scored five runs, but the offense was a bit of a struggle in this game while facing former Georgia star Cole Wilcox. The Braves managed just six hits with a Cal Conley double being the lone extra base hit, along with five walks. It wasn’t until a four-run ninth inning where they recorded four of those six hits plus two of the five walks that the offense got going. Tyler Tolve was the biggest standout, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored. Conley had the double, while Justin Dean, Drew Lugbauer, Beau Philip, and Andrew Moritz each had singles in the win.

Hickory Crawdads 8, Rome Braves 7

Box Score

  • Nacho Alvarez, SS: 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, .307/.463/.386
  • Kevin Kilpatrick, CF: 1-4, BB, 2 R, .228/.363/.382
  • Rolddy Munoz, SP: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.45 ERA

Rolddy Munoz started and allowed a pair of runs in four and a third innings, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out three. Nick Howard followed and allowed a run in an inning and two thirds. Things were looking good for Rome with a 7-3 lead, but Hayden Harris proceeded to allow five runs while recording just one out. Rob Griswold (0.2 IP) and Peyton Williams (1 IP) finished off the game without allowing any more runs to score.

Nacho Alvarez was the standout in this one, going a triple short of the cycle and picking up four RBI in the process. Alvarez has continued his strong start to his first full pro season and now has his average up to .307 with an OPS of .849. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he was to make it to Double-A at some point later this season, especially if he starts to hit for more power, but it is worth remembering that he doubled his May extra base hit total in this game, as he came in with one double as his lone extra base hit. Kevin Kilpatrick also had a solid game, going 1-for-4 with a walk and scoring twice. Brandol Mezquita added a triple and a pair of RBI, while Eliezel Stevens went 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base.

Augusta GreenJackets 3, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1

Box Score

  • Justin Janas, 1B: 2-4, 2B, 2 R, .292/.394/.381
  • Bryson Worrell, RF: 2-4, 2B, R, SB
  • Didier Fuentes, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 7.50 ERA

Augusta saw 17-year-old Didier Fuentes turn in his best, and his longest, start of the season in this one. Fuentes went four scoreless, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out four. It’s been a bit of an uneven season for Fuentes, but that’s to be expected for a player so young in full season ball to open the season. Chad Bryant, Jason Franks, and Elison Joseph each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, and Nolan Martinez allowed the lone run against Augusta to score over his two innings.

The Augusta offense was led by Justin Janas and Bryson Worrell, each of whom went 2-for-4 with a double, as the duo combined to score all three GreenJackets runs. In fact those two were the entire offense, as a Dawson Dimon single was the only other hit by the rest of the lineup in this game.

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