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Braves Minor League Recap: Michael Soroka throws a shutout

Soroka took advantage of a shortened contest to get a complete game in a dominant performance

Mike Soroka Delivers a pitch Photo Credit: Jeff Morris

It was a solid day on the farm for the Atlanta Braves top prospects, and while no longer a prospect Michael Soroka led the way with a complete game shutout in a Stripers win. Vaughn Grissom also continued to show out for Gwinnett, and down in High-A Rome Hurston Waldrep made his second professional start.

(53-58) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (41-72) Charlotte Knights 0

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-3, 2B, BB, .328/.413/.496
  • Magneuris Sierra, LF: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, .208/.285/.279
  • Michael Soroka, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 3.21 ERA

The Gwinnett Stripers are scorching hot, and a gem from Michael Soroka led them to their seventh straight win. The game got off to a late start as some nasty weather rolled through the area, so after a bit of delay the sides decided to cut the game down to a seven inning game. This gave Soroka the opportunity to go the whole distance, as he was marvelous and was able to get swing-and-miss results early and finished with 15 whiffs and eight strikeouts. There was never really much of a struggle for Soroka in the game, as Charlotte never managed more than one baserunner in an inning, and after walking the second batter of the game he didn’t issue any more walks. Soroka struck out the side in the second inning and finished the game on his strongest run. He allowed a leadoff single in the fourth inning before retiring eleven straight batters before our old friend Tyler Neslony broke the streak with a two-out single in the seventh. Soroka got Yolbert Sanchez to line out following that to end the game.

The Stripers offense made sure Soroka was battling against no margin for most of the game as they didn’t break through until the fifth inning. Magneuris Sierra did a lot of the work in that inning, cracking a one out double, straling third base, and then scoring the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly from Justin Dean. The Stripers finally gave Soroka breathing room with a three run sixth inning, which was primarily handed to them behind three walks. Sierra punctuated the inning with a two-run line drive to stretch the lead out to four runs and the Stripers cruised from there. Vaughn Grissom had another good day at the plate and barely missed a home run in the seventh inning as he hit a fly ball off of the top of the high center field wall above the 400 foot sign. The power Grissom was expected to show is finally starting to make its presence felt in games and over his past 20 he has hit .362/.472/.609 (168 wRC+) with three home runs, a 17.8% walk rate, and a 12.2% strikeout rate.

(49-57) Mississippi Braves 3, (49-58) Rocket City Trash Pandas 5

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, CF: 2-4, 2B, .296/.399/.437
  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 1-4, HR, .279/.385/.635
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 3.01 ERA
  • Tyler Owens, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3.52 ERA

Mississippi never led in this game as they fell behind early and never made a comeback. Their two errors would come back to hurt them with two unearned runs being one of the differences in the game. Cody Milligan and Luke Waddell opened up the game with hits to give the Braves an early scoring opportunity, but Tyler Tolve grounded into a double play which ended the threat. A double play in the second inning and a pickoff of Milligan in the third erased even more baserunners, so in the fifth inning Drew Campbell decided to skip all of that and hit a solo home run to make it a 2-1 game. Drew Lugbauer added a home run of his own in the seventh inning, giving him a league-leading 22 home runs made even more impressive by the fact he has played less than 23 of Mississippi’s games. Mississippi’s final run came from Milligan in the ninth inning as he led off with a hustle double, stole third base, and then scored on a wild pitch. Unfortunately before the game ended Tyler Tolve pulled up while running to first with what was hopefully just a cramp.

Luis De Avila had one of his nights where he struggled to find the zone, and while he made it out with a decent final result he still allowed 12 of the 22 batters he faced to reach base across his four innings. De Avila and the M-Braves defense did a good job of limiting damage overall, with De Avila picking off a runner in the first inning that could have otherwise led to a big inning. Milligan and Waddell combined on a relay to throw out a runner at home on a third inning double, limiting damage there as well as De Avila went into the fourth inning with only one run allowed. De Avila allowed an RBI double in the fourth inning but stranded the bases loaded as he recorded strikeouts for the final two outs of the inning. Tyler Owens struggled in relief of De Avila, and was not helped by a Bryson Horne error in the sixth inning that helped lead to two runs scoring with two outs to extend the Rocket City lead to 4-1. Another error bit Mississippi in the seventh when following a leadoff walk issued by Kyle Wilcox, then a wild pitch and stolen base, Luke Waddell made a throw home that Tolve couldn’t handle allowing the runner to come in from third base.

(50-57) Rome Braves 4, (47-55) Winston-Salem Dash 1

Box Score

  • Drake Baldwin, C: 1-3, 2B, HBP, .235/.363/.412
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-3, BB, .318/.423/.507
  • Hurston Waldrep, SP: 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
  • Jorge Bautista, RP: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 7.91 ERA

Rome only had one extra base hit and went 1-12 with runners in scoring position, but they managed to find away to claw out four runs to beat the Dash. Rome got their first run of the game on an errant pick off throw, with Ethan Workinger coming in to score on the play after he had led off the inning with a single. David McCabe had the Braves lone hit with runners in scoring position, but Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. was thrown out at home to end the inning. In the fourth inning a single from Adam Zebrowski and two walks loaded the bases with one out, but Rome came away with only one run on a ground out from Workinger. The Dash continued to shoot themselves in the foot an inning later with Drake Baldwin making it a 3-0 game after doubling and then scoring on two consecutive errors. Baldwin was again involved with the final Rome run of the game when he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, came around to third on a single from Geraldo Quintero, then scored on a wild pitch.

2023 first round pick Hurston Waldrep was on the mound for the Rome Braves, and his debut was a bit of a chaotic affair when the game went into a rain delay after he threw just three pitches. After returning from the delay Waldrep was not particularly sharp, throwing just 27 of his 50 pitches for strikes and only managing four swings-and-misses in the game. Waldrep did manage to avoid damage because he allowed no hits in the game, but it was not the overwhelming dominance we saw in that opener with Augusta and the question to ask is how much the weather affected this outing. Jorge Bautista pitched four innings of bulk work out of the bullpen, and despite his own struggles with control he was getting tons of whiffs. Bautista struck out four batters over his six innings and only allowed one unearned run. Ronaldo Alesandro finished out the game by striking out four of the five batters he faced in 1 13 scoreless innings.

(50-56) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (48-56) Salem Red Sox 7

Box Score

  • EJ Exposito, 3B: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, .215/.328/.342
  • Tyler Collins, CF: 2-3, 2B, BB, RBI, .208/.296/.259
  • Adam Shoemaker, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 6.36 ERA

Augusta poured runs on the board late as they snuck out of Salem with a win. After six innings the teams were playing in a low-scoring battle, with Salem leading 1-0, before all hell broke loose. The first four Augusta hitters of the seventh inning drew walks to tie the game, and base hits from Jacob Godman and Tyler Collins put the GreenJackets up 3-1. Another walk forced home the fourth run of the inning and Drew Compton capped off the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly. Augusta added on with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning from Godman and a two-run home run from EJ Exposito in the ninth inning, but their 8-3 lead wasn’t as safe as they would have hoped.

Adam Shoemaker had one of the best starts of his career, as he showed some control of his fastball and with that was able to avoid damage in the game. The Red Sox managed only one hit and one unearned run off of Shoemaker as he went five innings and struck out five batters. Shoemaker relied heavily on his defense to help him, getting seven ground ball outs in the game. Nolan Martinez followed with three innings of relief work, and while he allowed runs in the seventh and eighth innings it didn’t seem like it would matter much. Elison Joseph just had to protect a five run lead in the ninth inning, and oh boy did it get a bit scary. Joseph struck out the first batter of the inning, then went single, double, walk, walk to force home a run and bring the tying run to the plate. Fortunately that runner would never get on base as though all three runners would score thanks to a wild pitch and an error Joseph and Landon Harper would each get an out to close out the win.

(26-22) FCL Braves 6, (20-27) FCL Rays 5

Box Score

  • Douglas Glod, LF: 1-4, BB, .236/.378/.431
  • Isaiah Drake, CF: 1-4, BB, RBI, .170/.250/.255

The FCL Braves stay rolling down in Florida, and today they were blessed by eight walks from the Rays to help lead the way to a win. Isaiah Drake reached base twice at the top of the order, though he unfortunately also added two strikeouts to his ever-growing total. Douglas Glod also had a hit and a walk, and Luis Sanchez had a two-run single in the fifth inning to lead the team in RBI. The Braves held tight to a 6-0 lead going into the ninth inning, but the game got scary as Efrain Polanco allowed four runs. Jhonly Tavarez this allowed an RBI double to make it a one run game with two outs, but was able to finally retire the side and close out a win.

(14-32) DSL Braves 1, (18-29) DSL Guardians Blue 8

Box Score

  • Luis Guanipa, CF: 0-3, BB, .242/.362/.399
  • Mario Baez, SS: 0-4, .313/.397/.425

It was a tough day for the DSL Braves offense, with both Luis Guanipa and Mario Baez going hitless at the top of the lineup. They did get contributions elsewhere, with Carlos Monteverde going 2-4 and John Estevez having a double across his four at bats. Junior Garcia joined Monteverde as the only Braves hitters with multiple hits, and he has hit .256/.412/.400 with more walks than strikeouts this season.

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