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Braves Minor League Recap: Nacho Alvarez carries Rome to win

Alvarez has now hit safely in five straight games as he drove in two of Rome’s three runs.

Credit: Garrett Spain - Battery Power

It was a relatively forgettable day down on the farm for Atlanta’s MiLB affiliates, as only two of the six came away with wins on the day.

(36-49) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (41-41) Omaha Storm Chasers 7

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-4, 2B
  • Luke Williams, RF: 2-3, BB
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Box Score

The Gwinnett pitching staff allowed seven runs on 13 hits in a 7-1 loss to Omaha on Friday.

Jared Shuster got the start and allowed one run in the first inning as the Storm Chasers jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

The lone run of the game for the Stripers tied the game up in the bottom of the third inning. Joshua Fuentes singled, leading off the inning. After Forrest Wall grounded into a force out, Luke Williams singled to move him to third. Braden Shewmake then grounded out, bringing Wall home tying the game at 1-1.

With Shuster still on the mound, Omaha brought home another run in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead. Despite allowing seven hits, the two runs would be all Shuster allowed as he would give way to the bullpen after tossing just 4.2 innings. Matt Swarmer was called on in relief and in the top of the sixth inning, allowed a two-run homer as the Storm Chasers extended their lead to 4-1. Swarmer allowed the next three batters in a row to reach, loading the bases before Roddery Munoz was called on to put out the fire. While he got a double play, which resulted in a run scoring making it 5-1, Munoz allowed a double and a single, as Omaha plated two more runs making it 7-1.

Offensively, there wasn’t much going for the Stripers. Gwinnett would put a few runners on base throughout the rest of the game, but couldn’t string together any efficient offense, leading them to lose by the 7-1 final.

(38-39) Mississippi Braves 5, (41-37) Montgomery Biscuits 9

  • Cade Bunnell, 3B: 1-4, HR, RBI
  • Landon Stephens, LF: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 1-3, RBI, BB
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

Box Score

All but two Braves registered a hit in this one, but that wasn’t enough as Mississippi fell to Montgomery by a final of 9-5.

Things started off relatively well for Mississippi. In the first inning, the Braves scored four times, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Justin Dean singled to kick the frame off and scored on a double by Cal Conley in the next at-bat, making it 1-0. Conley also took third on an error. Luke Waddell then singled into center field, allowing Conley to score. Tyler Tolve walked two batters later, and a Landon Stephens singled to score Waddell and Tolve to make it 4-0.

Mississippi tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the third inning, as Cade Bunnell homered over the left center field fence.

Getting the start on the mound, Luis De Avila allowed one run over the first three innings. However, in the top of the fourth, the wheels fell off as De Avila allowed five more runs as Montgomery took their first lead of the game at 6-5.

The Biscuits wouldn’t relinquish that lead for the rest of the game, while the Mississippi offense fell flat after the third inning as they failed to score again.

Jake McSteen took over in the fifth inning and tossed a scoreless inning. Trotting back out there in the sixth, he struggled, allowing three runs, making it 9-5.

That lead would hold through the rest of the game as the Braves came up short.

(37-42) Rome Braves 3, (42-37) Greenville Drive 2

  • Nacho Alvarez, SS: 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 1-4, R
  • Tyler Owens, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, BB, 4K

Box Score

It was the Nacho Alvarez show for Rome as the Braves got the narrow win over Greenville. The shortstop went 3-4 with a homer and a double to go along with two of the three RBI on the night for the Braves.

Despite notching a hit in the first two innings, Rome didn’t have a run to show for it. That changed in the top of the third inning, as Alvarez notched his second hit of the game, this time a solo home run, to give Rome the 1-0 lead.

On the mound, Tyler Owens got the start and while he didn’t get the “win” on the night, he was incredibly effective, tossing five scoreless innings while scattering just three hits and striking out four.

Greenville scored a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning, as J.J. Niekro took over in relief of Owens, which tied the game at 1-1.

Rome would retake the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Bryson Horne singled to leadoff the inning, and later scored on a double off the bat of – you guessed it – Alvarez, making it 2-1 Braves. Alvarez advanced to third on an error on the play, which ended up being a huge error as he would score on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, extending the Braves’ lead to 3-1.

After allowing the homer in the sixth, Niekro settled down, keeping the Drive off the board in the seventh and eight before giving way to Jonathan Hughes in the bottom of the ninth. Things wouldn’t go too smoothly for Hughes, as he would immediately give up a solo home run, cutting the Rome lead to 3-2. Hughes would allow two more hits in the inning – both singles – but managed to get out of the inning and get the save.

(37-41) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (46-32) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5

  • Jair Casanova, LF: 1-2, HR, RBI
  • Justin Janas, 1B: 2-4, 2B, BB
  • Owen Murphy, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K

Box Score

On a positive note, Owen Murphy struck out eight batters on Friday night. However, the downside is he allowed four runs across five innings and got stuck with the loss as Augusta fell 5-4 to Myrtle Beach.

The GreenJackets got on the board first in this one, as Jair Casanova launched his sixth homer of the season over the right field wall to make it 1-0 Augusta.

As for Murphy, outside of four batters in the fifth inning, it was an excellent outing. In the top of the fifth, with five strikeouts under his belt, he allowed a leadoff single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. After working a full count to the next Pelican batter, Murphy served up a center-cut pitch which was in turn sent over the right center field fence for a grand slam to make it 4-1 Myrtle Beach. Strangely enough, Murphy bounced back and struck out the next three batters he faced, retiring the side and stopping the bleeding.

Augusta would get two of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dawson Dimon walked to leadoff and Tyler Collins followed that up with a single, moving Dimon to second base. After Ambioris Tavrez struck out, Justin Janas doubled, scoring Dimon and moving Collins to third. Two batters later, Collins scored on a wild pitch, cutting the GreenJacket deficit to 4-3.

Estarlin Rodriguez took over for Murphy on the mound in the top of the sixth inning and allowed a one-out homer, allowing Myrtle Beach to extend their lead to 5-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, Janas singled into center field, and an error by the Pelican centerfielder allowed for Tavarez – who was hit by a pitch in the previous at-bat – to score on the play to make it 5-4.

Augusta would put a runner on base via walk in the eighth inning, but that’s the last bit of offense the GreenJackets could muster, as Myrtle Beach walked away with the win.

(12-12) FCL Braves 8, (10-14) FCL Rays 0

  • Douglas Glod, LF: 2-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
  • Leiker Figueroa, SS: 2-5, 2B, RBI
  • Darius Vines, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 5 K

Box Score

It might have taken them until the final three innings to put a run on the board, but the FCL Braves got it done in tremendous fashion, shutting out the FCL Rays while plating eight runs.

Darius Vines got the start on the mound as he continues to work his way back from injury, hopefully returning to Triple-A Gwinnett when he’s deemed fully healthy. In the win, Vines tossed four scoreless innings while scattering just two hits and striking out five batters.

As mentioned, offense was hard to come by in the first six innings, as the Braves were held scoreless. That changed in the top of the seventh, as the Braves plated four runs in the frame. Douglas Glod doubled to leadoff the inning but the next two batters would be retired, leaving the Braves with one out to play with. With two gone, Alen Pineda and Noah Williams drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases. Back-to-back errors with Leonel Callez and Wilfrank Graciano at the plate allowed four runners to score, making itt 4-0 Braves.

In the eighth, the Braves would tack on another run as Robert Gonzalez brought Luis Sanchez home on a sac fly to extend the lead to 5-0.

The Braves would score three runs in the ninth to take a commanding 8-0 lead, which would be the final. RBI groundouts from Leiker Figueroa and Glod would count for two of the runs, while Luis Sanchez reached on an error, allowing Callez to cross the plate.

(7-16) DSL Braves 0, (12-11) DSL Guardians Red 8

  • Junior Garcia, DH: 1-2, 2 BB
  • Mario Baez, SS: 1-3, BB
  • Rudit Pina, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K

Box Score

Honestly, as the score reflects, this was a bit of a rough one for the DSL squad so we won’t spend too much time on it here.

The offense was limited to just two hits on the day, a pair of singles off the bat of Junior Garcia and Mario Baez. Garcia and Baez also accounted for three of the team’s five total walks as well.

It was just as rough of a day for the pitching staff, which gave up eight runs. However, there were a few bright spots on the mound for the Braves. Stater Rudit Pina tossed three scoreless innings while Yonathan Frias followed that up with three scoreless frames of his own.

All-in-all, it was one of those games where it’s best to just pick up the pieces and try again tomorrow.

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