The Atlanta Braves farm system took a split of their four Thursday night games, with one forgettable evening and three tight contests. Ambioris Tavarez has started to see a little improvement of late and had two huge hits in Augusta’s win.
(11-18) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (14-16) Charlotte Knights 15
- Luke Waddell, SS: 0-1, 3 BB, .197/.333/.246
- Forrest Wall, CF: 2-4, 2B, BB, .242/.365/.389
- Nick Solak, LF: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, .313/.377/.563
- Nick Margevicius, SP: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 11.05 ERA
Some games are best left in the rear view mirror, and this is certainly one of them. Braden Shewmake had the night off and the offense elsewhere was fairly uninteresting. Luke Waddell drew three walks in four plate appearances, and his contact rate and plate discipline has been good despite overall poor numbers. Nick Solak has been the real bright spot for this offense and he had another strong day, reaching base three times including a double. The pitching staff had a nightmare dare and it started because Nick Margevicius couldn’t get out of the first inning and set the bullpen off on a long journey. Nolan Kingham covered four innings and was mostly fine except his inability to keep Clint Frazier from hitting two home runs in the game. Charlotte finally got to Kingham in the fifth inning for three runs and ended up forcing him from the game. The highlight of the game for the pitching staff was a scoreless seventh inning from Joe Harvey, which was the only scoreless inning in the game.
(8-16) Mississippi Braves 3, (14-10) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6
- Cal Conley, SS: 1-4, 2B, .198/.296/.244
- Javier Valdes, C: 0-3, BB, .308/.390/.596
- Luis De Avila, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3.26 ERA
Mississippi held a lead in this game, but a late bullpen collapse pushed them under the water. Luis De Avila had a normal start by his standards, as he filled up the zone and forced a whole heap of ground balls on the way to a solid final line. His wildness in the first inning cost him after a couple of wild pitches forced in a run, but outside of that only a third inning home run got home against him. De Avila forced nine ground ball outs over five innings. After De Avila left the game the Mississippi offense had their breakthrough to take a lead.
A third inning home run from Hudson Potts represented Mississippi’s only run in the game going into the sixth inning, but the wildness of the Blue Wahoos was critical in getting the Braves a lead. Justin Dean led off the inning with a walk, and although he was thrown out at home on a single from Andrew Moritz the Blue Wahoos weren’t off of the hook. They issued two walks with two outs to load the bases and Landon Stephens produced the big hit to bring in Moritz and Cade Bunnell to give Mississippi a lead. Unfortunately the Braves wouldn’t hold that as Hayden Deal struggled. Deal recorded a strikeout of his first batters but then allowed four straight batters to reach to give Pensacola the lead before he left the game. Coleman Huntley then allowed both of the runners he inherited from Deal to score and push the deficit out to 6-3. Mississippi went down quietly the rest of the way, with a Cal Conley double leading off the eighth inning being the only hit they recorded after Stephens’s.
(11-12) Rome Braves 3, (9-13) Bowling Green Hot Rods 0
- Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 0-1, 3 BB, .307/.500/.360
- Kevin Kilpatrick, CF: 1-3, 3B, BB, RBI, .227/.388/.318
- Drake Baldwin, DH: 1-4, RBI, .184/.231/.367
- Daniel Martinez, SP: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.74 ERA
- Hunter Riggins, RP: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 4.61
Rome’s pitching duo of Daniel Martinez and Hunter Riggins blanked the Hot Rods and the Braves offense provided enough to get them a win. Both teams traded zeroes for the first two innings but when Stephen Paolini got a one out triple in the third inning it gave Rome the first big opportunity for either side. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. cashed that into a run with a triple of his own to give Rome a 1-0 lead. The bottom of the order was involved in the next scoring chance as well with Kadon Morton beating out an infield single and Paolini being hit by a pitch to put two runners on in the fifth inning. Kilpatrick struck out for the first out of the inning, but Rome would get runs as Drake Baldwin’s RBI single scored Morton. Nacho Alvarez then drew a walk which helped another run come home on a wild pitch during Adam Zebrowski’s strikeout. Alvarez drew three walks on the day which gave him the minor league lead in walk-to-strikeout ratio. Alvarez has the third most walks (27) in all of minor league baseball and only ten strikeouts through 104 plate appearances. The question for him now is whether the Braves think he’s ready to be called up, as while he’s very inexperienced it may not be serving him well to just sit around and wait out High-A pitchers who often don’t have the command to even force him to swing.
Rome didn’t use their most exciting pitchers in this one, but both they did use did well and shut out Bowling Green. Daniel Martinez cruised through the first four innings of the game with no real sweat, but finally in the fifth inning the Hot Rods were able to threaten that 1-0 lead. Martinez did erase a leadoff single with a double play but after allowing a walk to the next hitter was pulled from the game for Hunter Riggins. Riggins allowed a base hit to put the tying run in scoring position but got a strikeout to end the inning. Riggins closed out the remainder of the game and got the win, only running into a little bit of trouble in the seventh inning when he allowed two hits and had a runner reach on an error.
(10-13) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (12-10) Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 2
- Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, .208/.330/.325
- EJ Exposito, 2B: 1-2, 2 BB, .205/.333/.410
- Tyler Collins, CF: 1-5, .194/.250/.242
- Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.84 ERA
- Hayden Harris, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 11.57 ERA
This game was not looking good for the GreenJackets, but as is often the case at this level the late innings were eventful and Augusta won by a comfortable margin. Kannapolis starter Connor McCullough had the GreenJackets offense in a box and across his six innings allowed only a single hit and no walks. Finally he was replaced in the seventh inning and the first pitch the bullpen threw put Augusta on the board. Ambioris Tavarez has struggled this year, but has shown that he is hard to beat on the inside of the plate and was able to turn on a fastball for his first home run of the season. Step forward an inning and another home run tied the game, this time off of the bat of Nick Clarno. Following that shot the Cannon Ballers walked two men on four pitches, then allowed a single to load the bases for Tavarez. Tavarez delivered his second big hit of the game as he waited out a spinning slider and went with it to right center field for a first-pitch bases-clearing double. Ethan Workinger added a run in the ninth inning on a solo home run.
Ambioris Tavarez and the Augusta coaching staff have been hard at work tweaking his swing. Left is April 11th, right is today.— Garrett Spain (@BravesMILB) May 4, 2023
Lowering the hands and relaxing his setup has helped mitigate some of the issues with his bat path. pic.twitter.com/uG4fIFbVCp
Spencer Schwellenbach made his fifth start for the GreenJackets and looked the best he has all year, getting strikeouts from all three of his pitches. Schwellenbach was really snapping it off early as he recorded strikeouts for three of his first four outs then had to battle deeper counts a bit as the game went forward. Schwellenbach had a shutout with four strikeouts through three innings, but allowed a leadoff single in the fourth inning which ended up being a run charged against him as Nolan Martinez couldn’t strand the runner. Martinez was able to wiggle out of most of the trouble he created for himself, except in the fifth inning when he allowed a base hit which later scored on a two out throwing error from David McCabe. Hayden Harris closed out the game with an outing he really needed following a blow up his last time out. Harris came in after the GreenJackets took that eighth inning lead and proceeded to strike out all six batters he faced to close out a win.