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Braves Minor League Recap: David McCabe, E.J. Exposito dominate to lead Augusta to win

Both GreenJackets homered, doubled and drove in three runs for Augusta on the night

Credit: Garrett Spain - Battery Power

A complete game shutout, a walk-off and a massive offensive performance from multiple players. Atlanta’s MiLB affiliates had something for everyone down on the farm on Wednesday.

(21-25) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (24-22) Durham Bulls 7

  • Chadwick Tromp, C: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, 2B, RBI
  • Daniel Robertson, 1B: 2-3, 2B, R
  • Beau Burrows, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Box Score

After winning their previous two games, Gwinnett fell back in the loss column on Wednesday night.

Offensively, things were a bit of a struggle for Gwinnett in the early going.

Despite Eli White leading off the home half of the first with a triple, the Stripers would fail to bring him home. Gwinnett would tally two more extra-base hits through the first six innings, but would again fail to bring home a run.

The good news, at least for a brief moment, is that the Gwinnett pitching staff held Durham at bay while the offense sputtered. Beau Burrows started on the bump for the Stripers and allowed just one run on three hits through five innings. Gwinnett would trail 1-0 headed into the top of the seventh before things went down the drain for the Stripers.

With Nolan Kingham on the mound, the Stripers allowed three runs in the inning before Grant Holmes would come on to stop the bleeding after Durham extended their lead to 4-0. The Bulls would tack on two more runs in the top of the eighth, making it a 6-0 deficit for Gwinnett.

The Striper offense would come to life in the bottom of the eighth inning en route to cutting the Durham lead in half.

Daniel Robertson singled to kick the frame off for the Stripers and Vaughn Grissom later doubled him home. In the very next at-bat, Chadwick Tromp launched a two-run homer over the wall, making it a 6-3 game.

Ty Tice would come on in relief in the top of the ninth and would allow another run to the Bulls, making it 7-3. That deficit would be too much for Gwinnett to overcome as the Stripers would strikeout in order to end the game.

(18-22) Mississippi Braves 2, (26-15) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1

  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-4, HR, RBI
  • Beau Philip, 3B: 2-4, 2B
  • Tyler Tolve, DH: 2-5, RBI
  • Jose Montilla, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 K

Box Score

It took a bit of late-inning heroics, but Mississippi came to life and brought home a win in extra innings.

Mississippi loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning without recording a single, but would fail to bring a runner home.

Jose Montilla tossed four innings for Mississippi, getting the start. He would allow one run while striking out a pair of batters.

Despite failing to score in the first frame, the Braves would get a runner in scoring position in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings but again, Mississippi remained scoreless while trailing by a run.

While the Braves searched for their first run, the bullpen did their part by holding the Pensacola offense at bay. Hayden Deal, Jake McSteen and Kyle Wilcox would come on in relief and hold the Blue Wahoos off the scoreboard through the top of the ninth inning, keeping the Mississippi deficit at one.

Just three outs away from being shutout, Drew Lugbauer would take matters into his own hands. Leading off the inning, the Mississippi first baseman smashed a solo homer to tie the game at 1-1. Beau Philip doubled two batters later but the Braves failed to bring him home, sending the game to extras.

Wilcox would get an extra inning of work in the top of the tenth inning and would do an excellent job, striking out the side, stranding a runner in scoring position to keep the game tied at 1-1 headed into the bottom of the tenth.

In the bottom of the tenth, Luke Waddell would start the inning at second base as Javier Valdes and Jesse Franklin V were retired, bringing Tyler Tolve to the plate with two outs.

Working into a hitter-friendly 3-1 count, Tolve would single into left field, bringing Waddell home and winning the game for the Braves.

(21-19) Rome Braves 5, (20-20) Greenville Drive 0 (Game 1)

  • Drake Baldwin, C: 2-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
  • Keshawn Ogans, DH: 2-3, 2B, RBI
  • Daniel Martinez, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 5 K

Box Score

It was all Rome in the first of two games on the day for Atlanta’s High-A affiliate.

The Braves got on the board in their first trip up to the plate thanks to Drake Baldwin, who launched a one-out homer — his seventh of the year — over the left field fence, giving Rome a 1-0 lead.

Daniel Martinez got the start for Rome and was phenomenal for the Braves. Playing only seven innings due to doubleheader rules, Martinez would go the distance. Tossing a complete game shutout, Martinez needed just 81 pitches — 54 strikes — to keep Greenville off the scoreboard while also striking out five batters in the process.

The one-run lead would be more than enough to give Rome the win with Martinez dominating, but the Braves would tack on insurance runs in their final at-bat.

In the bottom of the sixth, Eliezel Stevens singled to leadoff the inning. Baldwin would notch his second RBI of the game with a double to bring home Stevens, extending the lead to 2-0. After Nacho Alvarez was hit by a pitch, Geraldo Quintero reached via catcher’s interference to load the bases. Keshawn Ogans singled to score Baldwin, extending the lead to 3-0. One batter later, Bryson Horne reached on a fielder’s choice, plating Alvarez and Quintero to make it the 5-0 final.

With a stellar day at the plate, Baldwin has hit safely in eight of his last ten games and has raised his OPS to .867 on the season thus far.

(21-20) Rome Braves 1, (21-20) Greenville Drive 7 (Game 2, makeup of April 8)

  • Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 2-3, HR, RBI
  • Nacho Alvarez, SS: 1-3
  • Patrick Halligan, SP: 1 IP, H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, K

Box Score

While game one went in favor of Rome, game two went in the opposite direction and did so in a hurry.

23-year-old righty Patrick Halligan got his first start of the year for the Braves and would only last one inning, allowing two runs in the top of the first inning.

Trailing 2-0 going into the home half, Rome would get their one and only run in game two on a Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. home run to cut into the lead, making it 2-1.

Halligan would give up another run in the top of the second before giving way to the bullpen in the top of the second inning, allowing Greenville to extend their lead to 3-1. The relief corps would actually post shutout innings in the third, fourth and fifth innings, keeping the Rome deficit at two runs.

With Luis Vargas on the mound, the Braves would allow Greenville to tack on two additional runs in the top of the sixth before Rob Griswold would relieve him and escape the inning without further damage.

While Griswold was able to shut the door in the sixth, the wheels fell off in the top of the seventh. The righthander walked the first batter he faced in the inning and hit the next batter with a pitch. Two batters later, he allowed a two-run single, making it a 7-1 lead for Greenville.

That score would hold as the Braves would be limited to just the lone run on three hits on the day as they split the two contests on Wednesday.

(20-21) Augusta GreenJackets 7, (22-18) Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 1

  • David McCabe, 3B: 3-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
  • E.J. Exposito, SS: 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
  • Jair Casanova, LF: 1-4, 2B, RBI
  • Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 2.2 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 4 K

Box Score

Augusta got two monster offensive performances on Wednesday night from E.J. Exposito and David McCabe to lead the GreenJackets to a win.

Despite Kannapolis getting on the board first, after starter Spencer Schwellenbach allowed one run over 2.2 innings, that would be all the Augusta pitching staff would allow.

Trailing 1-0 headed into the bottom of the second inning, the GreenJackets went on a scoring rampage. Bryson Worrell singled and Exposito then homered, giving Augusta the 2-1 lead which they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the night.

In the home half of the third inning, McCabe would make his mark on the game. After Francisco Floyd leadoff with a single, Ethan Workinger and Justin Janas struck out in back-to-back at-bats. With two gone in the inning, McCabe sent the first pitch he saw in the inning over the left center field wall for a two-run homer, extending the Augusta lead to 4-1. Augusta would add another run, after Worrell walked and stole second, Exposito brought him home on a double, giving him his third RBI on the day and more importantly a 5-1 lead.

Both squads would go scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings as McCabe tallied his second hit of the game on a single in the fifth.

Exposito walked in the first at-bat of the bottom of the sixth inning and would be brought home on a double from Jair Casanova, extending the GreenJacket lead to 6-1. One frame later, McCabe got his third hit of the night, an RBI-double to score Floyd who reached on an error to lead off the inning. The run-scoring double would add to the Augusta lead, making it 7-1.

Due to the short start by Schwellenbach, the bullpen would have to do most of the heavy lifting to seal the win.

Estarlin Rodriguez, Landon Harper and Chad Bryant combined to toss the remaining 6.1 innings, allowing just two combined hits and striking out eight Kannapolis batters.

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