The Atlanta Braves system had a frustrating run of it, taking two close losses in the late stages of those games. Mississippi did deliver the win on the day, clobbering Pensacola 10-1 as Drew Lugbauer drove in his 30th run of the season.
(21-28) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (27-22) Durham Bulls 4
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-5, .311/.402/.491
- Braden Shewmake, 2B: 0-2, 2 BB, .230/.279/.444
- Allan Winans, SP: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.31 ERA
- Joe Harvey, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.46 ERA
Gwinnett was outdueled in a close battle, coming up just short in a ninth inning rally to take a one run loss. The Bulls jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in this game, riding a string of hits off of Stripers starter Allan Winans. Durham wasn’t necessarily hitting Winans particularly hard, but found holes to grab two runs in the first three innings of this game. That changed in the fourth inning when they led the inning off with consecutive hard-hit doubles to extend their lead, ultimately scoring two runs in the inning. The Stripers had fortune go their way in the fourth inning to get back into the game. Following a leadoff walk to Chadwick Tromp, Braden Shewmake hit what could have been an easy double play ball over to second base, but it hopped up and bounced off the hand of the second baseman allowing Shewmake to reach safely. Unfortunately the second baseman had to leave the game following the play. Nick Solak came up next and snuck a ball down the left field line for a double which scored both runners to cut the deficit in half.
Winans held down the Bulls for the rest of his outing, completing 6 1⁄3 innings despite his early trouble. Winans has been Gwinnett’s most consistent starter this season, and has the system lead in innings pitched (45 1/3) and Gwinnett lead in strikeouts this season at 44. Both his curveball and changeup were working to great effect against Durham, combining to get 14 of Winans’s total 16 whiffs in the start. In the bottom of the sixth inning Solak added another RBI double, cutting the Durham lead down to a run with three innings left to play. Gwinnett didn’t do anything through the eighth inning, but got a leadoff single from Chad Pinder in the ninth inning to start a rally. Daniel Robertson followed that up with another base hit but consecutive strikeouts had Gwinnett down to their final out. A walk to Forrest Wall brought Vaughn Grissom up to bat, who struggled in this game and came to the plate 0-4 with three strikeouts. Grissom would put wood on the ball, but the broken bat line drive went right to the shortstop for the final out of the game.
(19-24) Mississippi Braves 10, (28-16) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1
- Justin Dean, CF: 2-4, BB, RBI, .171/.300/.276
- Drew Lugbauer, DH: 1-3, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, .225/.340/.567
- Scott Blewett, SP: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3.31 ERA
- Kyle Wilcox, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
Mississippi’s big fourth inning was all they needed in this game, as walks and timely hits were able to lift them to an easy win. Wahoos starter M.D. Johnson controlled this game early, carving through the Braves lineup across three scoreless innings. Then in the fourth inning he went cold, walking the bases loaded to bring up Mississippi’s hottest bat in Drew Lugbauer. Slugbauer may not have cleared the fences this at bat, but he did clear the bases with a double to add on to his team-leading 30 RBI. Johnson then walked another batter before giving up a two-run bomb to Landon Stephens that ended his day and Pensacola’s chances. Mississippi only had seven hits in this game, but six of those were run-scoring plays including Tyler Tolve’s fifth inning single. Beau Philip added on with a solo home run in the sixth inning, and for good measure the Braves scored two more runs in the eighth inning. Jacob Pearson drove in Stephens with a triple and Justin Dean snuck one through to score Pearson and wrap up a big scoring day for the Southern League’s worst scoring offense.
The flip side to their offense is that Mississippi has the best team ERA in the league and were dominant as a whole in this one. Starter Scott Blewett was in control of this game from the outset, matching Johnson’s performance through three innings while striking out three batters. Like his opponent Blewett ran into his trouble in the fourth inning due to a lead off double, but didn’t allow another hit in the inning and would only allow that one run to come around to score. Blewett’s day finally ended after allowing a hit and a walk in the sixth inning, and the bullpen mowed through the Wahoos. The Mississippi bullpen faced ten batters and recorded eleven outs with Hayden Deal making that difference by immediately forcing a double play in relief of Blewett. Deal did hit a batter in the seventh inning, but on the next pitched erased that runner with another double play before getting a strikeout to end the inning. Jake McSteen struck out a batter in a scoreless eighth inning before Kyle Wilcox struck out the side in the ninth to close the game.
(21-23) Rome Braves 1, (24-20) Greenville Drive 3
- Drake Baldwin, DH: 1-3, BB, .229/.370/.458
- Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 0-4, .280/.429/.356
- Rolddy Munoz, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2.94 ERA
Rolddy Munoz pitched another good game for the Rome Braves, but the offense couldn’t provide support for him. To start with Munoz he was one of the players we were hoping would take the next step this season, and so far it seems that’s happened as he has put together a good campaign with a 2.94 ERA. While his peripherals (20% K rate, 4.43 FIP) don’t necessarily support his overall performance, his May (25% K, 3.10 FIP) is a step forward and he’s been missing bats as consistently as in the past despite the drop in plate appearances ending in strikeouts. The only run Munoz allowed in this game came in the fourth inning, when he allowed back-to-back singles with the latter sneaking under the glove of the right fielder for an error that scored the runner from first. Peyton Williams pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Munoz but the game got away from the Braves in the eighth inning. Jonathan Hughes allowed singles to each of the first three hitters he faced, giving up two runs in the inning to take a loss.
Rome’s offense only came away with one run in this game, and given a couple of opportunities they had it’s a frustrating loss that falls on the offense. Rome was gifted a baserunner via error to lead off the third inning, and they did come through for the early run as Geraldo Quintero and Drake Baldwin had two outs hits to score Brandol Mezquita. The inning ended on a strikeout from Ignacio Alvarez, who has really struggled this week going 2-18 with eighth strikeouts and zero walks. One inning later and Rome found themselves in a prime scoring chance after a hit batter and two singles loaded the bases with no outs in the inning. The Braves then struck out in order, stranding all three runners. Rome found themselves in another huge scoring opportunity in the eighth inning when Quintero and Baldwin walked to lead off the inning and bring up the middle of the order. Alvarez smacked a fly ball into the gap, but couldn’t get it to fall and went down for the first out. A walk to Adam Zebrowski would load the bases, but Keshawn Ogans was rung up on a highly questionable called strike three for the second out. Bryson Horne put a good charge into a pitch in the next at bat, but it was right at the right fielder and would be caught for the final out of the eighth. Stephen Paolini would get a two out single in the ninth inning, but it was too late and Rome fell 3-1.
8 K over 19 PA