The Atlanta Braves farm system had its share of exciting performances on Saturday evening, but none were as good as that of their 2022 third and fourth round picks in Rome. Both Drake Baldwin and David McCabe hit home runs as the Rome Braves won 6-1 in their game. Luis De Avila had the system’s top pitching performance as he led Mississippi to a win with six innings of one-hit shutout ball.
(24-32) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (39-17) Norfolk Tides 9
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, .321/.405/.478
- Braden Shewmake, 2B: 0-4, .211/.271/.414
- Nick Solak, RF: 1-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .275/.361/.450
- Nolan Kingham, SP: 1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 5.94 ERA
Gwinnett was run out of the building in this one, not notching any runs until the ninth inning in a blowout loss. Grayson Rodriguez gave the Stripers opportunities in the early innings as he walked five batters including two each in the first and third, but Gwinnett consistently came up empty against him. They didn’t record their first hit until Rodriguez’s sixth and final inning, and that was a leadoff single which was erased on an inning-ending double play. If you were hoping for better luck against the bullpen well you did get it, but it was never going to be enough to make up the huge deficit. In the ninth inning the Stripers gave us a glimmer of joy with some offense, starting with Vaughn Grissom grounding one deep into the 5-6 and beating out the throw for an infield single. Nick Solak followed with his sixth home run of the season, putting Gwinnett on the board at the last minute. Forrest Wall stole another base in this game, bringing his total on the season to 31. In less positive news, Vaughn Grissom doubled his season error by making a poor throw in the third inning and let a routine ball go under his glove in the seventh.
It has been a rough season for Nolan Kingham, and today was no exception as he couldn’t even get out of the second inning. Kingham survived a hit and two walks in the first inning, but things got out of hand quickly in the second. Kingham walked the first batter on four pitches then allowed four straight hits which plated four runs and ended his day very early. The bullpen did a decent job in relief of Kingham, needing only three more arms to get through the rest of the loss and preserve some availability. Matt Swarmer was able to complete that second inning with no further damage and ended up going 2 2⁄3 innings and allowing two runs. Brian Moran allowed a home run as the lone run over 2 1⁄3 innings, and Ty Tice allowed two unearned runs in his two innings of work.
(23-26) Mississippi Braves 1, (17-33) Birmingham Barons 0
- Jesse Franklin V, DH: 1-5, .237/.313/.424
- Luke Waddell, SS: 1-4, BB, .241/.346/.279
- Luis De Avila, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 3.35 ERA
- Victor Vodnik, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.32 ERA
The Birmingham Barons did their absolute best to give this game to Mississippi, but for seven innings it seemed the Braves did not want to take it. The Barons issued eight walks to the Braves over the first seven innings, but Mississippi consistently failed to cash in opportunities as they finished the game 0-9 with runners in scoring position. They didn’t have a single hit through those first seven innings but finally cashed in a chance when Jesse Franklin dropped one into center with one out in the eighth inning. Tyler Tolve couldn’t advance Franklin on a fly out, but Drew Lugbauer came up with a clutch double on the first pitch he saw to put two runners in scoring position. Once again the Braves failed to cash in a hit in that situation, but Birmingham finally succeeded in their charity as a wild pitch would score Franklin for the game’s only run.
For all of the frustration the Mississippi offense put fans through in this game, the pitching staff must be praised and especially Luis De Avila. De Avila didn’t have hit best control, issuing four walks to the Barons over six innings, but they could not do anything against him. The Barons eked out just one hit over the first six innings, with their best rally coming at the end when De Avila issued two free passes in his final inning before capping off his day with a double play. Each of Mississippi’s relievers would given Birmingham an ounce of hope, but none would let it flower and they shut down the final three innings. Alex Segal allowed a two out single in the seventh inning, but it was of no consequence he forced a weak ground out to close the frame. Coleman Huntley was the first to pitch with a lead, and a hit and stolen base with one out had him on the defense in a one run game. Huntley proceeded to get the next two batters to pop out to Cal Conley at second base, sending the game to the ninth inning with the Braves still on top. Victor Vodnik allowed a base hit to the first batter he faced, but got back on track by striking out the next on three pitches. The game ended on a double play, Lugbauer taking a step to his right to pick a friendly hop and Vodnik hustling to first to receive the throw from second to end a tight battle.
(24-26) Rome Braves 6, (22-24) Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .229/.361/.371
- Drake Baldwin, C: 1-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI, .228/.369/.449
- David McCabe, 3B: 2-4, HR, .333/.429/.500
- Rolddy Munoz, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2.63 ERA
Rome jumped out to a very early lead in this game thanks to last year’s highest drafted hitters, and the pitching staff held on to secure a win. The Braves got off to a blazing start in this game, with Kevin Kilpatrick smacking a leadoff double before Drake Baldwin smashed the first pitch he saw for his eighth home run of the season. Geraldo Quintero started a solid evening off with a double in the second inning before coming around to score on a single from Bryson Horne. After some wild pitches moved Horne around Kilpatrick lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 in favor of Rome and Nacho Alvarez’s lone hit of the dray brought home Stephen Paolini to make it 5-0. David McCabe’s first High-A home run would cap off the scoring for Rome in this game, putting an exclamation point on a big win. Quintero had two doubles in this game, giving him his second multi-extra base hit game this season.
Rolddy Munoz had a phenomenal month of May as he posted a 2.55 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 17 2⁄3 innings. He kept that momentum in his first start in June, going four scoreless innings while netting a season high with six strikeouts. It was not all smooth sailing for the righty as he struggled to find the zone in this game and only threw 32 of his 61 pitches for strikes, but he made it work and kept Bowling Green off of the board. Munoz’s scariest inning came when he walked two batters in his fourth and final inning, but he also struck out three batters that inning to preserve the shutout. Patrick Halligan had arguably the worst outing among Rome’s pitchers, but still didn’t allow any runs and got the win in the game. In the fifth Halligan allowed a hit and a walk, but a double play allowing him to skate around that and keep it scoreless. Halligan loaded the bases in the sixth, but got outs where he needed to as the Hot Rods would go 0-10 with runners in scoring position this game. Roel Ramirez allowed the lone run on an RBI triple in the seventh inning and he struck out three batters in the only inning he pitched. Rob Griswold closed the game out with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.35 on the year.
(26-24) Augusta GreenJackets 0, (18-30) Charleston RiverDogs 8
- EJ Exposito, SS: 1-3, .240/.347/.397
- Didier Fuentes, SP: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 7.20 ERA
- Landon Harper, RP: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.66 ERA
It was a no good, very bad evening for the Augusta GreenJackets as they just about could not do anything right against the RiverDogs. The GreenJackets managed just two hits, and Charleston faced three batters over the minimum for the full game. The second inning was the lone one where they had an at bat with a runner in scoring position as Nick Clarno led off the inning with a walk and was then moved to second base on EJ Exposito’s single. The inning ended after Cory Acton struck out when Jair Casanova grounded into a double play.
The pitching staff didn’t provide much of a bright spot either, as Didier Fuentes fell to 0-4 on the season. He got off to a nice start and retired the first four batters he faced, but home runs continue to plague him and a solo shot in the second inning broke the scoreless tie. Hits started to fall against Fuentes in the second inning and he allowed two runs on three hits before Casanova and Exposito combined to end the inning on a relay home. Landon Harper continued his solid season with three innings of long relief work. The only run off of Harper came on a home run in the first inning he pitched. In total Harper has struck out 33 batters in 32 innings while walking just four this season. Ronaldo Alesandro walked two batters and allowed an unearned run in his lone inning of work. Darling Florentino finished off the night for the pitching staff with a clunker, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in the eighth inning as he struggled to find the strike zone.