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Braves Minor League Recap: Spencer Schwellenbach excels for Augusta, Mississippi offense erupts

Schwellenbach spun the longest start of his professional career to date.

NCAA Baseball Regional - Fayetteville Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It was a relatively successful day down on the farm, as Atlanta’s MiLB affiliates went 3-2 on the day.

Augusta got an elite performance from a top arm and the Mississippi offense showed up and showed out in what were just two of the highlights in a jam-packed day.

(21-30) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (37-14) Norfolk Tide 8 (Game 1)

  • Eli White, CF: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • Yolmer Sanchez, 3B: 2-3, 2B
  • Dylan Dodd, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, BB, 3 K

Box Score

Game one of two on the day was a rough one for Gwinnett. Dylan Dodd allowed six runs and lasted only three innings on the mound for the Stripers. Three of those runs would be allowed in the first inning as Dodd allowed Norfolk to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

Gwinnett would get two of those runs back in the top of the third inning. Joshua Fuentes laced a one-out single into right field and Eli White would follow that up with a two-run homer, giving him two of his three RBI — and the first of two homers — in the game to make it 3-2.

While the Stripers were able to cut into the deficit in the top half of the inning, Dodd would falter in the home half, allowing an additional three runs, allowing the Tide to extend their lead to 6-2. Of the five hits Dodd allowed, four were for extra bases.

Matt Swarmer came on in relief of Dodd in the bottom of the fourth inning and managed to strike out two batters while tossing a scoreless frame. However, he would allow a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 7-2. In the sixth inning, Nolan Kingham would take over on the mound and allow the first four Norfolk batters to reach via single, double and a pair of walks, allowing the Tide to add another run to their tally making it 8-2.

Gwinnett would get one run back in the top of the seventh and final inning, courtesy of a solo home run off the bat of White to make it 8-3, which would hold to be the final as the Stripers fell short.

(22-30) Gwinnett Stripers 7, (37-15) Norfolk Tide 0 (Game 2, Makeup of April 7)

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 3-4, 2B, RBI, R, BB
  • Chadwick Tromp, C: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, BB
  • Forrest Wall, CF: 2-4, RBI, R, BB
  • Nick Margevicius, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 K

Box Score

Things went much better for the Stripers in game two. After tallying just six hits and three runs in game one, Gwinnett would string together ten knocks and seven runs while the pitching staff held Norfolk to a goose egg in the run column.

Gwinnett got a stellar outing from Nick Margevicius — who started — and Derrick Rodriguez who came on in relief out of the bullpen. Margevicius would toss five scoreless innings, scattering just two hits and striking out three. Rodriguez was able to build on Margevicius’ stellar start by tossing two scoreless frames of his own while striking out five Norfolk batters.

At the plate, the Stripers would manage to load the bases in the first inning, but failed to bring a batter home. However, the scoreless tie wouldn’t last beyond the second inning.

In the top of the inning, Daniel Robertson walked to leadoff and Joe Dunad doubled him to third. With a pair of runners in scoring position, a wild pitch allowed Robertson to score to make it 1-0 while Dunad moved up to third base. Two batters later, Forrest Wall singled to bring Dunad home, making it 2-0 Stripers. Wall would eventually make it to third base after a Vaughn Grissom single and Chadwick Tromp walk, but Gwinnett couldn’t bring him home.

Gwinnett would be held scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but would find a way to add onto their lead in the top of the sixth.

Wall would send a one-out single into right field and would subsequently steal second, giving him 29 stolen bases on the year already. Grissom would then double to bring Wall home, making it 3-0. In the very next at-bat, Tromp launched a two-run homer over the left center field fence, extending the Striper lead to 5-0.

In the seventh, Gwinnett tacked on an additional pair of runs. Yolmer Sanchez walked to kick off the inning and Daniel Robertson singled him to third. Another wild pitch allowed Sanchez to score, making it 6-0. Following the wild pitch, Joe Dunad walked and Magneuris Sierra singled Robertson home for a 7-0 score in favor of the Stripers, which would hold as the final.

(21-25) Mississippi Braves 13, (16-31) Birmingham Barons 2

  • Landon Stephens, LF: 3-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, R
  • Javier Valdes, C: 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 3 BB
  • Luke Waddell, 2B: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
  • Domingo Robles, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K

Box Score

All but two Braves notched a hit in Wednesday night’s rout over Birmingham. All told, Mississippi would total 12 hits and 13 runs in the game.

Javier Valdes ignited the offense for the Braves as he launched a leadoff home run in the top of the second inning to give Mississippi an early 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Justin Dean singled in the first at-bat of the third inning and Luke Waddell followed that up with a two-run shot over the right field fence, making it 3-0 Mississippi. After failing to score in the top of the fourth inning, Mississippi would plate a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning despite not registering a single hit.

After Cal Conley grounded out to leadoff the inning, Dean, Waddell and Jesse Franklin V drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Back-to-back wild pitches by Barons pitcher Matthew Thompson enabled Dean and Waddell to score, extending the Braves lead to 5-0. Haylen Green and Drew Lugbauer each drew additional walks in the inning, but the Braves would limit their scoring damage to just the two runs in the inning.

Leading 5-0 through five innings, a large chunk of Mississippi’s scoring came in the top of the sixth inning. Eclipsing their scoring total thus far, the Braves would plate seven runners in the inning.

The first five Mississippi batters would reach in the frame. Landon Stephens homered to start the inning, making it 6-0. Conley, Dean, Waddell all singled consecutively to load the bases before Franklin added a single of his own to bring Conley home, extending the Braves lead to 7-0. After Tyler Tolve went down on strikes for the first out of the inning, Valdes walked to score Dean making it 8-0 and In the next at-bat Drew Lugbauer drew a walk of his own to plate Waddell. Leading 9-0, Stephens doubled two batters later to unload the bases, driving in three runs in the process and putting Mississippi beyond the double-digit scoring mark making it 12-0.

On the mound, Domingo Robles cruised for the Braves as he put up five scoreless frames for Mississippi before he allowed the only blemish on the day in the bottom of the sixth as Birmingham was able to gain a run back to make it 12-1.

Mississippi would score their 13th run of the game courtesy of a Tolve groundout which scored Dean.

Nick Howard would relieve Robles in the bottom of the seventh inning and would give up a run, cutting the Braves lead to 13-2.

Hayden Deal and Kyle Wilcox would come on in relief and close out the final two innings for Mississippi, holding the Barons scoreless in the process to cap off the dominating win.

As for individual performances, Valdes continues his torrid pace. After Wednesday’s showing, the 24-year-old catcher is sporting a .999 OPS on the season.

(23-24) Rome Braves 0, (20-23) Bowling Green Hot Rods 2

  • Drake Baldwin, DH: 2-4
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-4
  • Kadon Morton, LF: 1-3, 2B, BB
  • Daniel Martinez, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 6 K

Box Score

It was a tough day for Rome. Despite getting an excellent start from righty Daniel Martinez, which saw him spin five scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out six, the Braves offense sputtered.

All told, Rome would tally just six hits while being blanked in the run column. Drake Baldwin and Adam Zebrowski managed the only multi-hit game for Rome while Kadon Morton accounted for the lone extra-base hit — a one-out double in the top of the seventh inning.

The Braves would actually get a runner in scoring position three separate innings in this one, but as the score indicates, runs were nonexistent for Rome.

After Martinez gave way following his impressive outing, Roel Ramirez spun a scoreless inning of his own to keep Rome in the game. However, when Jonathan Hughes took over in the bottom of the seventh, the only mark against the Rome pitching staff would come to light. Hughes would allow two runs which would prove to be more than enough to stave off the Braves as Rome dropped the second game of the series.

(25-22) Augusta GreenJackets 2, (18-29) Charleston RiverDogs 1

  • Ethan Workinger, CF: 1-4, HR, RBI
  • E.J. Exposito, SS: 2-3, 2B, RBI
  • Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, BB, 4 K

Box Score

Spencer Schwellenbach made the longest start of his professional career on Wednesday, leading Augusta to a narrow win over Charleston.

In what was his 23rd birthday, Schwellenbach decided to celebrate in grand fashion as across six innings, he kept the RiverDogs off the scoreboard while allowing just four hits and striking out four. In the process, he needed just 73 pitches — 50 of which were for strikes — to do so. It was a very encouraging sign as Atlanta looks to continue to stretch him out as a starter.

While Schwellenbach kept the opposition off the board, the Augusta offense didn’t take long to get things going themselves.

In the top of the first inning, Ethan Workinger led off the game with a solo homer, staking the GreenJackets to a 1-0 lead. But Augusta wouldn’t be finished scoring in the frame. Bryson Worrell worked a two-out walk. Worrell would proceed to steal second base and later advanced to third on a balk. With Worrell standing just 90 feet away, E.J. Exposito worked a 12-pitch at-bat into an infield single, allowing Worrell to score to make it 2-0 Augusta.

The rest of the game wouldn’t provide much offensive firepower for the GreenJackets as they would manage just two additional hits across the next eight innings.

However, the two runs would prove to be more than plenty to stave off a late comeback attempt. After Schwellenbach’s evening was finished, Jared Johnson came out of the bullpen to toss the remaining three innings. While he allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, he would right the ship and hold the RiverDogs at bay and notch the save for Augusta.

With his performance, Schwellenbach lowered his ERA on the season to 1.53 and has allowed just two earned runs across his previous six starts dating back to April 27.

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