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Braves Minor League Recap: Diego Benitez leads FCL squad to win

Benitez went 2-3 with an RBI to lead the Braves to a victory over the Rays FCL squad.

Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

It was a bit of a mixed bag for Atlanta’s minor league affiliates on Friday as the six squads went .500 on the day.

(44-55) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (45-54) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 5

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-5, HR, RBI, R
  • Daniel Robertson, DH: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Joe Dunad, 1B: 1-4, 2B, R
  • Michael Soroka, SP: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, BB, 5 K

Box Score

Vaughn Grissom homered and Michael Soroka had a rough start, allowing five runs, as Gwinnett fell to Jacksonville on Friday.

Gwinnett got one run in the top of the first inning thanks to a two-out, solo homer off the bat of Vaughn Grissom, staking the Stripers to a 1-0 lead. However, that lead would evaporate quickly as starter Michael Soroka allowed a pair of runs in the home half of the inning, giving Jacksonville the 2-1 lead. Soroka allowed two more runs in the bottom of the third inning, as the Jumbo Shrimp extended their lead to 4-1.

After getting the homer from Grissom in the first inning, offense was tough to come by for Gwinnett for a bit until the Stripers scored again in the top of the sixth. Braden Shewmake led off with a single as Grissom grounded out before Joe Dunad doubled Shewmake to third. After a Hoy Park walk, Yolmer Sanchez singled to score Shewmake, making it 4-2 Jacksonville.

The Jumbo Shrimp got the run back, however, in the home half of the inning as Soroka allowed a run on a wild pitch to make the game 5-2.

In the top of the eighth, Dunad was hit by a pitch to kick off the inning as Sanchez and Joe Hudson drew one-out walks to load the bases. A bases-loaded single off the bat of Daniel Robertson brought home Dunad and Sanchez to cut the lead to 5-4.

Grissom would single in the top of the ninth, but it would prove to be too little, too late as Gwinnett fell 5-4.

(42-50) Mississippi Braves 4, (56-37) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1

  • Jesse Franklin V, CF: 3-3, 2 RBI, BB
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-3, HR, RBI, 2 R
  • Beau Philip, 2B: 1-4, RBI
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 2K

Box Score

Mississippi came out on the right end of this one, beating Pensacola by a 4-1 final.

Nolan Kingham got the start on the mound for Mississippi and tossed an excellent outing. Across five innings, Kingham held Pensacola scoreless while allowing just six hits and striking out a pair.

The Braves got on the board in the bottom of the second. Drew Lugbauer slugged a one-out solo homer over the right center field fence to kick things off. Jesse Franklin V walked before being caught stealing second as Javier Valdes followed that up with a double. Hudson Potts walked as Beau Philip singled to score Valdes, making it 2-0 Braves.

Mississippi got a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Luke Waddell singled before Lugbauer drew a two-out walk. Franklin then doubled, plating both Waddell and Lugbauer.

Kingham would give way to reliever Hayden Harris, who allowed the only blemish on the line for Mississippi pitchers, giving up one run in the top of the seventh inning, cutting the Braves’ lead to 4-1.

Ty Tice and Kyle Wilcox would come through and shut the door on the win for Mississippi, tossing a pair of scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to seal the deal.

(43-51) Rome Braves 5, (38-51) Asheville Tourists 11

  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
  • Kadon Morton, CF: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, R
  • Cedric De Grandpre, SP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB

Box Score

The baseball gods were not very kind to Rome, as they lost 11-5 to Asheville, as most of the damage from the opposition came in one inning.

Scoreless going into the bottom of the third inning, starter Cedric De Grandpre allowed seven runs – three earned – as the Tourists jumped out to a commanding 7-0 lead before the Braves ever got on the board.

Rome finally scored in the top of the fifth inning, scoring three runs. Adam Zebrowski singled to leadoff the inning as Stephen Paolini reached on an error to put a runner in scoring position. Kadon Morton then homered over the left field fence to make it a 7-3 game. However, Asheville got all three of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, as Tyree Thompson allowed the Tourists to extend their lead to 10-3.

In the top of the sixth, David McCabe drew a leadoff walk before Zebrowski launched a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 10-5.

Rome reliever J.J. Niekro allowed one run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Asheville extended their lead to 11-5.

Offensively, the Braves couldn’t produce anything more as they fell by the 11-5 final.

(43-50) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (46-48) Charleston RiverDogs 6

  • Jeremy Celedonio, RF: 1-4, RBI
  • Eliezel Stevens, 1B: 1-4, R
  • Jared Johnson, SP: 3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Box Score

Augusta scored four runs on four hits, but it wasn’t enough to bring home the win on Friday.

This one got off to a rough start, as Charleston scored three runs in the first two frames off of starter Jared Johnson, leading to Augusta trailing 3-0. The GreenJackets scored twice in the top of the third, cutting the lead to 3-2. Dawson Dimon laced a single into left field as E.J. Exposito walked with two outs. Jeremy Celedonio singled into right field, scoring Dimon and advancing Exposito to third. Exposito would then score on a wild pitch for Augusta’s second run of the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Exposito and Celedonio drew back-to-back walks before a double steal coupled with an error allowed for Exposito to score to make it 4-3 RiverDogs.

Giomar Diaz took over for Johnson in the fourth inning and tossed a scoreless inning before giving up a single run in the bottom of the fifth and sixth inning, as Charleston extended their lead to 5-3. Augusta got a run back in the top of the seventh as Francisco Floyd grounded into a forceout to score Eliezel Stevens to cut the deficit to 5-4 for the GreenJackets.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Samuel Strickland took over for Diaz as the righthander allowed Charleston to plate another run, extending their lead to 6-4.

Augusta would actually put a runner in scoring position in the top of the eighth and ninth innings, but failed to bring a runner across the plate as the RiverDogs took the win.

(18-19) FCL Braves 5, (16-21) FCL Rays 1

  • Diego Benitez, SS: 2-3, RBI, R, BB
  • Luis Sanchez, 2B: 2-3, RBI, R, BB
  • Reiybn Corona, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, BB, K

Box Score

Diego Benitez led the charge for the Braves’ FCL squad in the 5-1 win over the FCL Rays.

The Braves scored a run in the bottom of the first inning without tallying a single hit. Benitez drew a two-out walk as he then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. A wild pitch allowed Benitez to score, giving the FCL squad a 1-0 lead.

The Braves’ pitching staff held the Rays scoreless over the first five innings. However, the Rays tied the game in the top of the sixth inning as reliever Adel Dilone allowed one run, tying the game at 1-1.

The Braves would take the lead once and for all in the bottom of the seventh inning. Christian Jackson led off the frame with a walk before Douglas Glod was hit by a pitch to put Jackson in scoring position. Benitez then singled into left field, scoring Jackson to make it 2-1. Luis Sanchez followed that up with a single of his own, plating Glod, extending the lead to 3-1. Robert Gonzalez then drew a walk to load the bases before Alexander Martinez tallied a bases-loaded walk in the next at-bat to make it 4-1. Sanchez would later score on a wild pitch to make it 5-1 as the FCL bullpen would hold on to cap off the win for the Braves.

(10-26) DSL Braves 9, (25-11) DSL LAD Mega 16

  • John Estevez, DH: 2-4, 2B, HR, RBI, 3 R
  • Carlos Monteverde, RF: 1-5, HR, RBI, R
  • Junior Garcia, LF: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Rudit Pena, SP: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Box Score

The Braves’ DSL squad tallied 11 hits and nine runs but still weren’t able to notch the win.

Mario Baez grounded out in the top of the first to plate the first run of the game before John Estevez later scored on a passed ball to give the DSL squad the 2-0 lead. That lead would hold through the first two innings despite starter Rudit Pena allowing one run in the bottom of the first. However the Dodgers DSL team would take the lead – dominantly too – after scoring four runs in the bottom of the third and seven runs in the bottom of the fourth compared to one run scored in the top of the fourth inning as the Dodgers jumped out to a 12-3 lead.

The Braves actually scored six runs over the final four innings but that proved to be not enough as the Dodgers routed the Braves 16-9 on the day.

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