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Braves Minor League recap: Waldrep strikes out eight in Augusta debut

The 2023 Braves first-rounder showed up and showed out in the full-season professional start of his career.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

Waldrep struck out eight batters, Drew Lugbauer homered three times and Augusta split two games on Friday in what was a full day for Atlanta’s minor league affiliates.

(48-58) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (50-56) Indianapolis Indians 1

  • Daniel Robertson, 3B: HR, RBI, R
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • Allan Winans, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 10 K

Box Score

A stellar performance on the mound and at the plate led Gwinnett to the win on Friday night by a final of 5-1.

Starter Allan Winans did a spectacular job, going seven innings while allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out ten batters. However, Gwinnett was the first to plate a runner as Daniel Robertson homered in the bottom of the fifth to stake Winans to a late 1-0 lead.

While Winans would allow a run in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, the Stripers would retake the lead in the home half, scoring one run. Luke Williams and Sam Hilliard led off with back-to-back singles before Jesus Aguilar notched a one-out single into left field to extend the Stripers lead to 2-1.

The real breakthrough for the Gwinnett offense came in the home half of the eighth inning as the Stripers bullpen was able to continue the excellent work by Winans, holding the Indianapolis offense at bay. Hilliard drew a two-out walk before Vaughn Grissom singled him to second base. After Aguilar walked to load the bases, Hilliard scored on a wild pitch to extend the Gwinnett lead to 3-1. Braden Shewmake then doubled into right field, scoring Grissom and Aguilar to make it a 5-1 ballgame in favor of Gwinnett. That score would hold as the final as the Stripers took the win.

(46-54) Mississippi Braves 7, (52-49) Montgomery Biscuits 4

  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 3-4, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R
  • Javier Valdes, DH: 2-4, 2B, R
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, BB, 5 K

Box Score

Drew Lugbauer put up a historic performance for Mississippi on Friday, slugging three homers to lead the Braves to a win.

Lugbauer got the scoring started for the Braves, slugging a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning. Javier Valdes followed that up with a double and two batters later, Drew Campbell singled to move him to third. Arden Pabst brought Valdes home on a sac fly to extend the Mississippi lead to 2-0.

Meanwhile, starter Luis De Avila tossed six scoreless innings while scattering just six hits and issuing one walk as he struck out five on the night.

As De Avila did his thing on the mound, Mississippi’s offense was busy extending their lead. In the bottom of the fifth, the Braves tacked on four runs. Pabst singled to leadoff as Beau Philip followed that up with a double, moving Pabst to third. Cody Milligan brought Pabst home on a sac fly before Luke Waddell singled up the middle to make it 4-0 Mississippi. Two batters later, Lugbuaer sent his second homer of the day over the left center field wall to extend the lead to 6-0 for the Braves.

Peyton Williams took over for Trey Riley in the top of the eighth inning and gave up one run, cutting Mississippi’s lead to 6-1. The Braves would get that run back in the bottom half, thanks to Lugbauer’s third home run of the night. Lugbauer’s blast was the first three-homer game in Trustmark Park history.

Despite the Mississippi staff giving up three runs in the top of the third inning, the Braves came away with the 7-4 win.

(46-55) Rome Braves 9, (52-49) Greenville Drive 5

  • KeShawn Ogans, SS: 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, R
  • David McCabe, 3B: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 3, BB
  • Daniel Martinez, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 7 K

Box Score

Rome wasted no time in jumping out to a lead in this one, as they scored four times in the first frame.

Nacho Alvarez singled into center field with one out before Geraldo Quintero advanced Alvarez to second on a single of his own. David McCabe singled into right field to score Alvarez and Quintero to make it 2-0. In the next at-bat, KeShawn Ogans homered over the left center field fence to extend the Rome lead to 4-0.

Rome extended their lead in the top of the third inning. McCabe hit a two-out ground-rule double and subsequently stole third base. KeShawn Ogans then singled into center field to score McCabe to make it a 5-0 lead for Rome.

The Braves kept pouring it on in the top of the fourth. Justin Janas kicked things off with a leadoff single as Adam Zebrowski followed that up with an RBI-triple to extend the Braves’ lead to 6-0. Bryson Worrell then brought Zebrowski home via sac fly to extend the lead to a commanding 7-0 lead.

Starter Daniel Martinez put up a terrific outing while the offense for Rome was doing its thing. Across five innings, Martinez allowed three hits and an earned run while striking out seven.

The Drive scored one run in the bottom of the fourth, and three runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Braves’ lead to 7-4.

Rome extended their lead in the top of the eighth inning, scoring twice. McCabe led off with a walk as Ogans advanced him to second on a single. Zebrowski then notched a ground-rule double of his own over the right field wall to extend the Rome lead to 9-4.

Rome reliever Tyree Thompson allowed Columbia to score one run in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 9-5 Augusta, but that’s as close as the game would get as the GreenJackets would take the win.

(47-52) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (51-48) Columbia Fireflies 4 (Game 1)

  • Drew Compton, 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, R
  • Kade Kern, RF: 2-3, RBI
  • Hurston Waldrep, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K

Box Score

Atlanta’s 2023 first round draft pick made his official debut with the system, getting the start for Augusta on Friday.

Through three innings, Hurson Waldrep allowed two runs – only one earned – while scattering three hits and a walk in what was a very successful outing for the right hander. While Columbia took a 2-0 lead off of Waldrep, the GreenJackets struggled for the first half of the game but eventually found their footing in a big way.

In the bottom of the fifth, Augusta scored five times to take the lead for the first and final times in this one. E.J. Exposito walked to leadoff the inning before Jacob Godman singled him to second base. Ambioris Tavrez walked to load the bases two batters later as Cam Magee drew another walk to score Exposito to make it 2-1. With two outs, Drew Compton doubled into center field to unload the bases and give the GreenJackets the 4-2 lead. In the next at-bat, Kade Kern singled to score Compton to extend the Augusta lead.

Reliever Elison Joseph took over in the top of the sixth inning and allowed two runs, but that’s all Columbia would get as Augusta took game one on the day.

(47-53) Augusta GreenJackets 2, (52-48) Columbia Fireflies 3 (Game 2; Makeup of Aug. 3)

  • E.J. Exposito, 2B: 1-3, 2B
  • Jair Casanova, LF: 1-3, RBI
  • Samuel Strickland, SP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K

Box Score

Game two for the GreenJackets didn’t go as well as the first one as they lost by a narrow 3-2 margin.

The Fireflies scored first, as two runners scored off of starter Samuel Strickland in the top of the first. Augusta struck back in the bottom half, as a fielder’s choice off the bat of Drew Compton that scored Ambioris Tavarez to cut the Columbia lead to 2-1.

Strickland allowed an additional run in the top of the third to extend their lead to 3-1 before being pulled in favor of the bullpen.

Offensively, things were tough to come by for Augusta in game two. Despite scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning, the next scoring for the GreenJackets came in bottom of the sixth as Jair Casanova singled into center field to score Jace Grady to cut the lead to 3-2. However, that would be all the GreenJackets would get in this one as they lost game two.

(22-21) FCL Braves 7, (19-24) FCL Rays 6

  • Robert Gonzalez, CF: 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R
  • Pier-Oliver Boucher, LF: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Noah Williams, LF: 2B, RBI, R
  • Davis Polo, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, K

Box Score

The FCL squad walked off the Rays on Friday, winning by a 7-6 final.

The Braves scored first as Elian Cortorreal singled into left field to score Robert Gonzalez to take a 1-0 lead.

Starter Davis Polo tossed a pair of scoreless innings before giving up a run as the Rays tied the game in the top of the third. An unearned run allowed the Rays to take the 2-1 lead. The Rays would tack on another run in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 3-1 on the day. In the top of the seventh, the Rays added on two more runs to make their lead 5-1.

In the bottom half of the seventh, the Braves would finally begin to mount a comeback, plating three runs. Noah Williams, Francisco Floyd and Cortorreal all drew consecutive walks to load the bases before a single out was recorded. Pier-Oliver Boucher followed the walks up with a single into left field, scoring Williams and Floyd to cut the lead to 5-3. Cortorreal would later score on a wild pitch to make it a 5-4 lead for the Rays. The Braves then tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Robert Gonzalez and Will King drew back-to-back walks before Williams doubled Gonzalez in to tie the game.

The Rays took the lead in the top of the ninth, but the Braves scored twice to win the game. Diego Benitez singled in Boucher to tie the contest as Gonzalez later doubled to score Will Verdung to take the victory for the FCL team.

(12-30) DSL Braves 5, (29-12) DSL Dodgers 7

  • Mario Baez, SS: 2-4, RBI
  • Josnaider Orellana, C: 2-2, 2B, RBI, R
  • Jesus Rodriguez, SP: IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K

Box Score

The DSL Dodgers got on the board first in this one, plating three runs in the first inning. Starter Jesus Rodriguez allowed three runs, two of which were earned, as they took a 3-0 lead.

The Braves got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning. Carlos Monteverde laced a one-out double into left field before he advanced to third on a balk. Josnaier Orellana then doubled into center field to cut the lead to 3-1.

Relievers Rudit Pena and Bernie Orozco allowed four runs in the top of the fifth as the Dodgers extended their lead to 7-1 over the Braves. In the home half of the seventh, the Braves were able to plate four runs of their own. Orellana singled to start the inning off before Michael Baez followed that up with a walk to put Orellana in scoring position. Luis Guanipa then drew a one-out walk two batters later John Estevez laced a double of his own into center field to score Orellana and Baez to make it 7-3. A wild pitch allowed Guanipa to score before Mario Baez grounded out to plate Estevez to cut the Dodger lead to 7-5, which would hold as the final score.

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