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Braves Minor League Recap: Drew Lugbauer homers twice

Lugbauer provided the spark for the system on a rain-compressed slate

Mesa Solar Sox v. Scottsdale Scorpions Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It was a short night for the Atlanta Braves system with the two A-level affiliates both getting washed out, but Drew Lugbauer made sure to pack a few games worth of action into his day with Mississippi. Lugbauer took over as the best hitter in the Southern League by OPS, but unfortunately he can only do so much.

(46-58) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (50-54) Indianapolis Indians 7

Box Score

  • Sam Hilliard, LF: 2-3, BB, RBI, .300/.417/.300
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-4, .223/.302/.412
  • Dylan Dodd, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 8.02 ERA

Sam Hilliard had his best rehab game so far, and that was the highlight for Gwinnett in another loss to Indianapolis. Dylan Dodd struggled on the mound in his first game back with Gwinnett after his injured list stint, as he didn’t miss many bats and Indianapolis was able to find holes with their batted balls. They jumped on Gwinnett first in the second inning with a triple from Mason Martin scoring two runs to put them up 2-0. Dodd allowed another run home in the third inning after he allowed a walk and hit a batter to load the bases. The next hitter topped a grounder over to Vaughn Grissom at second base, who botched the transfer on what would have been a close play regardless and was scored an infield hit.

Dodd only went those three innings in the game as he didn’t fully stretch out in the FCL, and after he departed the offense would pick him up and get him off the hook for the loss. Indy’s starter hit and walked the first two batters in the bottom of the third inning which brought up the top of the order with a chance to do damage. Hilliard first came through with an RBI single to get Gwinnett on the board, and Dalton Guthrie followed with a hit of his own to make it a one run game. The rally ended on a double play off of the bat of Grissom, but that play still scored the tying run. Chadwick Tromp led off the fourth inning with a solo home run, putting Gwinnett in the driver’s seat, but throughout the game the Stripers never found a way to add on. In that fourth inning Hilliard had another hit and Guthrie and Grissom both walked to load the bases, but Jesus Aguilar grounded out to end the inning. That Hilliard single would be the last Gwinnett hit in the game.

Dylan Dodd was not the worst performer on the Stripers staff on Thursday night, as once handed a lead Justus Sheffield immediately went to work dismantling it. Sheffield allowed a two-run single in the fifth inning which put Indianapolis right back on top in the game, then in the sixth inning gave up two solo home runs which further extended the lead. The rest of the bullpen did well, with Mike Morin pitching a scoreless seventh inning to lower his ERA since the Braves picked him up to 1.69. Dereck Rodriguez finished the game with two scoreless innings, but as mentioned the Stripers failed to get any hits so there was no comeback opportunity to be had.

(44-54) Mississippi Braves 5, (52-47) Montgomery Biscuits 6

Box Score

  • Tyler Tolve, C: 2-4, RBI, .226/.304/.375
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 4-4, 2 HR, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, .272/.385/.609
  • Nick Margevicius, SP: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5.40 ERA

Drew Lugbauer added to his Mississippi Braves GOAT resume with an outstanding performance, but it wasn’t enough for the M-Braves to eke out a win as the offense sputtered late. Lugbauer’s first crack came in the first inning, when he gave Mississippi an early lead by absolutely tanking a ball to right center field for a two-run home run. Montgomery would eventually answer in their half of the fourth inning with three runs to take the lead, and it was back on the offense to make some noise. Cade Bunnell started the bottom of the fourth off hot with a double, and Cal Conley and Javier Valdes kept it going with base hits to tie the game. A hit batter loaded the bases for the top of the order, still with no outs, but the Braves only managed one run on a Tyler Tolve sacrifice fly in what would be an important scoring opportunity. This inning ended one batter short of the red-hot Lugbauer, who hit another missile, this time to center field for his second home run of the game. Mississippi had runners on in every one of the final four innings and had two more runners on in that fifth inning, but they failed to add on any extra runs and Montgomery would come back to win.

We’re getting deep into the makeshift rotation part of the season, and the assignment in this one went to Nick Margevicius who is fresh down from his stint in a swing role in Gwinnett. Margevicius was lights out for the first three innings of the game, but after getting two outs in the fourth inning the hits began to fall like crazy. The Biscuits baked up a two-out rally by hitting three consecutive doubles to tie the game before an RBI single put them on top for the first time in the game. The fourth double of the inning followed that, but thankfully the runner was held at third base and Margevicius managed to keep the score there. Margevicius pitched a quiet fifth inning and turned the ball over to the bullpen and Jake McSteen with a two run lead. That did not last long, as McSteen allowed a game-tying two run home run in the sixth inning to Evan Edwards. McSteen is typically stingy to left handed batters, with this only the second home run he has allowed to a lefty this season. McSteen pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but Domingo Gonzalez couldn’t keep the tie and allowed a run in the eighth inning which was the deciding run in the game.

(44-54) Rome Braves, (51-47) Greenville Drive PPD

(45-52) Augusta GreenJackets PPD, (51-46) Columbia Fireflies PPD

(21-20) FCL Braves 5, (28-13) FCL Pirates 4

Box Score

  • Diego Benitez, SS: 1-4, .248/.308/.361
  • Douglas Glod, RF: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .240/.389/.457

Douglas Glod had a solid day at the plate in a win for the FCL Braves, and let’s not ignore that we finally have an affiliates with a record better than .500. The FCL Braves are now the pride of the organization, and Glod has been a big part of that. I’ve made mention of his high strikeout rates in the past, but he’s done well to reign that in lately and since the start of July it’s sitting at 23.8%. Glod drove in the two most critical runs of the game as he had the go-ahead double in the seventh inning.

(11-26) DSL Braves 8, (13-24) DSL Brewers 3

Box Score

  • Luis Guanipa: 1-3, 2 HBP, SB, .263/.373/.429
  • John Estevez, LF: 2-4, 2B, BB, .187/.349/.288

It’s hard to say the DSL Braves had a great day at the plate, as they had only five hits. Moreso the Brewers squad gave them a lot of help with six walks, four hit batters, and three errors, but eight runs is eight runs so we can praise the output here. Luis Guanipa had a solid day at the plate, no strikeouts, and continues to be the driving force behind the entire offense. John Estevez has a poor slash line, but has more walks than strikeouts this season and has been hurt quite a bit by a .229 BABIP. Today he had a big day, reaching base three times behind Guanipa. Catcher Carlos Parababire had the lone home run of the game, his second of the season.

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