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Atlanta Braves Minor League recap: Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. notches two-run, walk off infield single for Rome

It was an incredibly exciting day down on the farm with a walk off, a comeback win and a dominant pitching performance from a rising prospect.

Credit: Garrett Spain - Battery Power

Atlanta’s minor league affiliates went a combined 3-1 thanks to dominant performances at the plate and on the mound on Wednesday. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. led Rome to a win, Ambioris Tavarez and Jhancarlos Lara dominated for Augusta and Mississippi used a group effort to bring home the victory in what was a jam-packed day.

(55-64) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (65-54) Nashville Sounds 3

  • Forrest Wall, CF: 1-3, SF, RBI
  • Darius Vines, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 K

Box Score

On the one hand, Darius Vines was excellent in this one. Going seven strong innings, the right-hander scattered four hits while allowing just two runs. He also struck out five on 90 pitches, 65 of which were for strikes. On top of that, Vines held Nashville hitless across the first three innings, allowing a single in the fourth inning before wiping it away on a double play.

In five games started at the Triple-A level, Vines has simply been fantastic. Across 28.1 innings of 2.86 ERA ball, Vines has struck out 25 batters.

While Vines was doing his thing on the mound, unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the Gwinnett offense.

Vines eventually got knocked around a bit, allowing two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Trailing by a pair of runs, the Stripers managed just one hit the entire game – a single by Forrest Wall in the bottom of the first inning. Wall provided the only offense over the course of the nine innings, as he brought Yolmer Sanchez on a sac fly to cut the Nashville lead to 2-1.

Beau Burrows took over for Vines in the top of the eighth inning, and subsequently gave up an earned run as Nashville extended their lead to 3-1.

As mentioned, the offense couldn’t string anything else together as Gwinnett fell by the 3-1 final.

(51-63) Mississippi Braves 8, (61-55) Montgomery Biscuits 7

  • Luke Waddell, SS: 2-4, 2 RBI, R
  • Landon Stephens, RF: 2-2, HR, RBI, R
  • Cal Conley, 2B: 1-2, RBI, R, BB
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K

Box Score

Somehow, some way, Mississippi came away with a narrow win over Montgomery.

The Biscuits jumped out to a commanding lead in the bottom of the second, scoring five runs – four earned – off of Mississippi starter Nolan Kingham to take a 5-0 lead.

Offensively, the Braves put a runner on in each of the first three innings despite not registering a hit.

That changed in the top of the fourth inning in a big way. Luke Waddell singled and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Jesse Franklin V then drew a walk before Cade Bunnell flew out for the first out of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Javier Valdes and Hendrik Clementina scored Waddell and Franklin V to put Mississippi on the board. A Hudson Potts sac fly cut the deficit to 5-3. Drew Campbell, Cody Milligan and Cal Conely were then each hit by a pitch to score Clementina to make it a 5-4 lead for the Biscuits. Campbell then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-5 before Waddell singled into left field to score Milligan and Conley, giving the Braves the 7-5 lead.

Mississippi tacked on an additional run in the top of the sixth inning courtesy of a solo homer off the bat of Landon Stephens to make it 8-5.

With Domingo Gonzalez on the mound for the Braves, the Biscuits scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the Mississippi lead to 8-7.

Hayden Harris and Tyler Owens would combine to seal off the final 3.1 innings, as Mississippi took the one-run victory.

(55-61) Rome Braves 6, (62-51) Greensboro Grasshoppers 5

  • Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 3-4, 2 RBI
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
  • Geraldo Quintero, 2B: 1-4, 2B, RBI
  • Spencer Schwellenbach, SP: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K

Box Score

Things looked fairly bleak for Rome through the first seven innings on Wednesday.

In what was Spencer Schwellenbach’s first start at High-A, the right-hander tossed a pair of hitless innings before running into trouble. In the top of the third inning, Schwellenbach retired the first two batters of the inning, before loading the bases on back-to-back singles and a walk. Hunter Riggins took over on the mound and in turn walked the first batter he faced as Greensboro took a 1-0 lead. Riggins also allowed back-to-back singles as the Grasshoppers extended their lead to 4-0 over Rome.

At the plate, the Braves first hit didn’t come until the bottom of the fourth inning – a single by Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. – which was erased by a double play. Rome finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning as David McCabe scored on a Justin Janas groundout to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Greensboro tacked on an additional run in the top of the eighth, extending their lead to 5-1 over Rome.

Things finally began to break in the Braves’ favor in the bottom of the eighth inning. Ethan Workinger led off with a single on a line drive into center field as Kadon Morton followed that up with a walk. After Kilpatrick Jr. and Nacho Alvarez flew out, Geraldo Quintero doubled into left field to plate Workinger to make it 5-2 Greensboro. Following a pitching change, David McCabe laced a double of his own, scoring Morton and Quintero to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Reliever Rob Griswold locked down the top of the ninth, holding the lead to just the one run. In the home half, Janas drew a lead off walk and then advanced to third on a single and an error off the bat of Adam Zebrowksi, with the latter advancing to second on the miscue. Stephen Paolini was called on to pinch-run for Zebrowski as Morton struck out to put Rome down to their last at-bat. After working a 3-2 count, Kilpatrick Jr. singled up the middle, which was stopped by the shortstop, but an errant throw which pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing him to reach and Janas to score to tie the game. Taking advantage of the wild play, Paolini never stopped running and scored standing up to walk off the Grasshoppers by a 6-5 final.

(53-62) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (59-57) Charleston RiverDogs 0

  • Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 4-4, 2B, 3 R, 3 SB
  • Jace Grady, RF: 2-4, 2B, RBI
  • Drew Compton 1B: 1-4, RBI, R
  • Jhancarlos Lara, SP: 6 IP, H, 9 K

Box Score

Jhancarlos Lara was so dominant in this one, he earned a promotion to High-A after the game. Well, to be honest it was probably a larger sample size of his work the last few outings, but the point still stands.

Lara spun six innings, holding Charleston scoreless in the process while striking out nine and allowing just one hit. The performance was Lara’s third straight start of at least five innings pitched while striking out eight or more batters. Since the calendar flipped over to August, the 20-year-old sports a 1.76 ERA while striking out 28 batters in 21.1 innings.

As Lara dominated on the bump, his offense gave him some early run support. In the bottom of the first inning, Ambioris Tavarez led off with a single and then stole second base for his 16th swipe of the year. Tavarez stole third on a strikeout by Cam Magee and then scored on a Drew Compton groundout to make it 1-0 Augusta.

In the bottom of the third, Tavarez once again started things off, this time with a double into right field. He later scored on a double off the bat of Jace Grady to make it 2-0 GreenJackets. Two innings later, Tavarez singled with one out and stole second base before advancing to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Magee later reached on a fielder’s choice as Tavarez scored on the play to make it 3-0 Augusta.

On the mound, Cory Wall took over for Lara in the top of the seventh inning and tossed two scoreless innings, continuing the pitching dominance. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Drew Compton and Grady tallied back-to-back singles and two batters later, Compton scored on a Kade Kern forceout to extend the Augusta lead to 4-0.

Shay Schanaman took over in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order, slamming the door on the GreenJacket win.

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