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Braves Minor League Recap: Darius Vines whiffs seven

Vines was solid for Gwinnett, but that was the end of that pitching staff’s successes

Photo Credit: Mills Fitzner

It wasn’t the nicest of days for the Atlanta Braves farm system, with the only win coming in a game that isn’t even streamed on MiLB tv. So, we’re left with a sour taste but a good performance from Darius Vines who continued an impressive return from a spring training shoulder injury. Hayden Harris also contributed solid work in Mississippi as his stock continues to grow.

(54-61) Gwinnett Stripers 9, (66-51) Durham Bulls 16

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 3-6, 2B, 3 RBI, .234/.304/.413
  • Forrest Wall, CF: 4-6, 2B, HR, .266/.363/.415
  • Darius Vines, SP: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2.95 ERA

Gwinnett and Durham played a tightly-contested and well-pitched affair until everything went crazy in the later innings. The Stripers jumped out to an early lead with Forrest Wall’s first inning home run and they kept chipping away to give runs of support to Darius Vines. Dalton Guthrie led off in the third inning with a double, and Braden Shewmake’s first of three hits drove him in for a 2-1 Gwinnett lead. An inning later and two errors helped to bring in Daniel Robertson to score and extend the lead further.

Vines for his part was phenomenal, dominating the early frames with the help of his changeup. Durham did get a home run on a slider Vines left up in the first inning, but otherwise failed to make solid contact. Across 5 23 innings Vines notched 24 whiffs with 16 coming on his changeup, and allowed only one run through five innings. Then in the sixth Vines started to wear down and it showed with his command as his changeup started to drift too far glove side. One mistake on the pitch and Durham got a run back with a solo home run, but Vines was still pitching well until he was pulled from the game. Vines had gotten two outs, but an error and a walk left runners on base and Mike Morin was awful in relief of Vines.

Morin faced five hitters and he retired zero. He walked the first three batters he faced, forcing in both of the inherited runners from Vines, then he allowed a grand slam that broke the game open in Durham’s favor. Morin walked one more batter before Matt Tuiasosopo had seen enough and pulled him in favor of Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez stopped the sixth inning bleeding but Gwinnett couldn’t find any answers in their bullpen as Rodriguez allowed four runs in the seventh inning. Seth Elledge then allowed four runs in the eighth inning to further bury the Stripers. Gwinnett’s offense got going late, but it was far too late to make a serious comeback effort. Daniel Robertson led off the eighth inning with a solo home and Gwinnett scored four runs in the inning, only to give it all back in that aforementioned inning from Elledge. Braden Shewmakes two run single in the ninth inning gave Gwinnett a bit of something nice to end on before Jesus Aguilar and Drew Lugbauer struck out to end the game.

(49-60) Mississippi Braves 3, (58-53) Biloxi Shuckers 6

Box Score

  • Luke Waddell, SS: 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, .285/.392/.423
  • Jesse Franklin, CF: 2-4, SB, .242/.317/.442
  • Hayden Harris, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.59 ERA

Nolan Kingham gave the Braves a chance to win this game, but they could not come away with key runs and the Shuckers pulled away late in a win. Kingham wasn’t great in this game as he allowed three runs, two earned, across five innings with only one strikeout. Most of that damage came in the third inning when he allowed three runs on four singles and he otherwise held the Shuckers in check while the offense struggled.

In the third inning the Braves did break through with the bats, and it was a rally by the top of the order that got them close. Cody Milligan doubled with one out in the inning and Cal Conley’s single put runners on the corners with one out in the inning. Luke Waddell came up with a clutch double that scored both runs but Jesse Franklin and Landon Stephens struck out to strand the tying run in scoring position. Mississippi didn’t have another hit until the seventh inning and in that time the Shuckers added a run on against Tyler Owens who had a rough outing in relief. Hayden Harris continued his streak of good pitching with a scoreless inning and a third, and added to his strikeout total with two of them.

Cade Bunnell led off in the seventh inning with a double, and when Bryson Horne had a base hit to put runners on the corners with no outs it seemed like the Braves had a prime opportunity to tie the game. That would not come to pass, with a ground ball back to the pitcher from Hudson Potts did not allowed Bunnell to score but did lead to a double play for the first two outs. Arden Pabst struck out swinging to end the inning, and the wasted chance would play a role in the game. Biloxi then added two more runs off of Ty Tice in the eighth inning and the Braves faced a four run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning. Franklin had a single and Bunnell drove him in with his second double of the game, but Mississippi could do no more and Potts struck out to end it.

(51-60) Rome Braves 3, (58-47) Hickory Crawdads 2

Box Score

  • Geraldo Quintero, 2B: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, .262/.349/.336
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-3, BB, .306/.411/.486
  • Daniel Martinez, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.07 ERA

A home run from Geraldo Quintero provided all of the scoring needed as Rome’s pitching staff shut down Hickory in a game that doesn’t feature on MiLB tv. So to box score recap, Daniel Martinez allowed one run over three innings, with the lone run coming on a fifth inning home run. Martinez relied primarily on a high ground ball rate, getting eight ground ball outs across his six innings. Offensively, Nacho Alvarez was not in the lineup for his second straight game and Drake Baldwin also had a night off so it was a bit of a shallower lineup than normal. David McCabe still did his thing with a double and a walk in the game, but the offense failed to come through and after seven innings they trailed 1-0.

Rome was fortunate to start out the eighth inning with a throwing error by the pitcher and a hit batter bringing up the top of the order with no outs. This is where Quintero comes into play as he hit a three run home run to give the Braves the lead. Jonathan Hughes got two innings of work in, and after that home run he had his struggles and ended up allowing a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. He got out of it with no more damage done and Miguel Pena shut it down with a 1-2-3 ninth inning and two strikeouts. Pena has been quietly putting up a solid season in relief with 38 strikeouts and nine walks in 27 innings with Rome. However, he did struggle massively in his nine appearances in Mississippi earlier this season.

(51-59) Augusta GreenJackets 3, (52-55) Fredericksburg Nationals 4

Box Score

  • Ambioris Tavarez: 1-4, 2B, .191/.304/.385
  • Will Compton, DH: 2-4, .295/.407/.364
  • Riley Frey, SP: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 11.12 ERA

All it took was one big inning and a huge relief effort for the Nationals to take this one from Augusta. Ambioris Tavarez led off the game with a double and got to third on a fly out, but he made a blunder on a fly out from Drew Compton. Compton ripped a line drive down the line, and rather than tagging Tavarez broke for home. The left fielder, to his credit, made a fantastic diving play to rob Compton, but had Tavarez tagged the GreenJackets still would have come away with a run. Instead, Will Verdung struck out and Augusta left a key run on the board in the first inning. The nuttiness of this game continued in the second inning when Pier-Olivier Boucher led off the inning by grounding a ball down the first base line, dancing around the tag attempt from the pitcher, and beating the ball to first base for an infield hit. He then stole second base, advanced on a base hit from Jose Dilone, and scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly from Jacob Godman. Verdung made up for stranding Tavarez in the third inning when he singled to score EJ Exposito and extend the lead out to 2-0. Boucher then drew a walk to load the bases and Kade Kern brought home the third run on a ground out. Augusta would not score after this, and didn’t have a hit after Compton’s fifth inning single.

Riley Frey had his good points on the mound for Augusta last night, but the game got away from him in the third inning as he could not buy an out. A line drive off of the glove of Tavarez was scored an infield single and when the next batter dropped one into center field Frey found himself in a world of trouble. Frey got a strikeout for the first out, but walked Dylan Crews to load the bases. A base hit and a hit batter scored two runs to get the Nationals within one, and a two out base hit scored the tying and go ahead runs in the game. Frey was out after this play, and the bullpen put up a valiant effort. Shay Schanaman led the charge with 3 13 innings of scoreless relief, followed by innings each from Zack Austin and Elison Joseph, but Augusta could not reward that effort with any runs.

(28-22) FCL Braves, (27-21) FCL Red Sox PPD

(14-35) DSL Braves 4, (41-10) DSL Dodgers Bautista 5

Box Score

  • Luis Guanipa, CF: 1-4, BB, .247/.365/.398
  • Mario Baez, SS: 1-5, RBI, .318/.399/.434

The DSL Braves ran into one of the greatest baseball teams ever, apparently, but somehow this lowly 14-35 bunch made it a contest and almost walked away with a win. The Braves held a late lead, with a big fifth inning contributing to that lead. Luis Guanipa led off with a base hit, stole a base, and then scored on a single from Mario Baez. Baez would end up scoring on a John Gil triple to extend the lead to 4-1. This lead was cut to 4-3 going into the ninth, and Jose Marcano was tasked with closing out a win. That went as well as the final score would indicate, as he allowed a single, a walk, and hit a batter to load the bases before a two-run single walked the game off in favor of the Dodgers.

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