The final weekend of four Atlanta Braves affiliates playing this season went off well on Saturday, with three teams taking wins including two walk-off victories. Alan Rangel made his return to Gwinnett with a six inning, one-hit shutout and Hurston Waldrep made another start for Mississippi though with less success than his prior starts.
(64-71) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (73-63) Worcester Red Sox 2
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 2-3, BB, .244/.299/.385
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-4, .235/.301/.403
- Beau Burrows, SP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5.80 ERA
- Alan Rangel, RP: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA
After both teams pitched lights out for most of the game the action picked up late with the Stripers coming out on top with a walk off. Gwinnett went with Beau Burrows as the game’s opener and after a breezy ten pitch inning it was Alan Rangel’s turn to take the bulk of the rest of the game. Rangel had a dominant start to the outing and struck out five batters over his first two innings, and despite his strikeout totals dropping off he seemed to control the game as the Red Sox made little hard contact against him. Rangel walked too many batters but was able to escape due to Worcester’s struggles against him and he got through the sixth inning without allowing a hit. In the seventh the no-hit bid ended with a leadoff single, but despite a later walk Rangel got two routine outs and a strikeout to end his first game back in Gwinnett. Adam Kolarek had a poor game in relief as he allowed two home runs, but he found fortune as both were leadoff shots and only added a run each.
Offensively the Stripers were more active than the Red Sox, but it didn’t matter much as strikeouts seemed to pile up in key situations. Two singles with one out in the third inning had them in business, but Andrew Velazquez struck out at the top of the lineup for the second out of the inning and Dalton Guthrie flew out to end the game’s first threat. In the fifth inning the first three batters of the inning reached to load the bases, but the top of the lineup once again choked it away with Velazquez, Guthrie, and Braden Shewmake striking out in order to waste a chance to open things up. Finally in the seventh inning Velazquez made contact, checking his swing but managing to pop a ball into the outfield which scored Yolmer Sanchez from third base. This lead would be short-lived and the Stripers needed a run in the ninth inning to keep the game alive. When the inning opened with three straight walks the result seemed inevitable, and it was further advanced by a walk to Joshua Fuentes thar scored the tying run. Velazquez grounded into a force out for the first out of the inning but it was no matter as Guthrie ripped one through the left side for a walk off single.
(59-71) Mississippi Braves 5, (69-61) Tennessee Smokies 4
- Drake Baldwin, C: 2-4, 2 RBI, .296/.345/.296
- Luke Waddell, SS: 3-5, RBI, .295/.391/.414
- Hurston Waldrep, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 3.00 ERA
It was far from Hurston Waldrep’s best outing, but the Braves stayed in the game regardless and would end up putting up late runs to win. Waldrep was all over the place and didn’t seem to have a good feel for any of his pitches, and the three walks he allowed were an example of where his command was for the game. He wasn’t making up for it by missing bats either, as he forced only two whiffs across his three innings. Waldrep loaded the bases in the second inning on two walks and a single, but he was able to dance around the trouble and allowed only one run on an RBI ground out. The home run in the next inning was just a solo blast, so Waldrep left having allowed just one run despite his line feeling worse than that. The bullpen had a solid day covering innings in place of Waldrep, with Nick Margevicius going three innings and striking out four batters. Tennessee added a run extra on a solo home run in the fifth inning, but following Ty Tice’s two scoreless innings the Braves led going into the ninth. Kyle Wilcox allowed them to tie it back up on a sacrifice fly, but Mississippi made the most of their late chances on offense.
The Braves piled on 13 hits in the game, and five players in the lineup had multi-hit games. Three of those had hits in succession in the third inning, with Drew Campbell flipping the lineup over where Cody Milligan moved him to third and Cal Conley brought home the Braves first run. However Conley was caught stealing for the second out of the inning, blunting what could have potentially been a big early output. Mississippi had a chance in the sixth inning when Milligan led off with a hit and advanced on a wild pitch, however while attempting to score on Luke Waddell’s looping single into center field a fantastic throw beat Milligan home to stop Mississippi’s chance. In the eighth inning it would all come together, with Campbell getting his second hit of the game and the rest of the lineup stringing hits in behind him. Conley and Waddell both singled to load up the bases, and a wild pitch then scored a run to cut the deficit in half. Drake Baldwin would be the man to come up clutch, punching a high fastball the other way to score Conley and Waddell and give Mississippi a lead. Campbell sparked a rally again in the ninth inning with a double, and would score the winning run on a two-out single from Waddell.
(64-67) Rome Braves 1, (50-76) Asheville Tourists, 4
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 1-4, .226/.333/.333
- Ehire Adrianza, 2B: 1-1, 2B, 2 BB, .316/.417/.421
- Ian Mejia, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 4.69 ERA
It was a rough showing for Rome hitters not named Ehire Adrianza, as the first spot in the lineup certainly set the table but wasn’t supported by those behind him. Adrianza reached base in all three plate appearances, and in the third inning he led off with a double that led to the game’s first run. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. reached on an infield single as he beat the pitcher to the bag at first base, then a ball hit Nacho Alvarez in the shoulder to load the bases with no outs. This was a huge chance early in the game but Rome came away with only one run on an RBI ground out from David McCabe. The Braves didn’t score more runs the rest of the game. Rome came into this weekend with a chance to reach .500 before the end of the season, but after two straight losses they will not be able to do so.
It was a tough loss for Ian Mejia to take, as although he struggled in the fourth inning he had overall one of his best starts on the season. Mejia dominated the first trip through the Tourists lineup, setting down the first nine hitters of the game including four via strikeout. He started out the fourth inning with another strikeout, but here the game got dicey. Mejia allowed a single, but followed that with a strikeout to come just an out away from escaping his first baserunner. However, he walked the next two batters to load the bases and then allowed a two-strike, two-out, two-run base hit that gave Asheville a lead they would not give back. Mejia then went back to mowing through the lineup, striking out two batters in a perfect fifth inning. In total Mejia struck out eight batters and led all High-A pitchers on the day with 22 whiffs. The game didn’t stay close for long after his departure either, as Tyree Thompson allowed two runs in the sixth inning which extended the Asheville lead to 4-1.
(62-68) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (66-60) Down East Wood Ducks 3
- Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, .218/.318/.339
- Jeremy Celedonio, RF: 1-4, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .188/.327/.387
- Mitch Farris, SP: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 3.52 ERA
- Adam Shoemaker, RP: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 6.06 ERA
Augusta’s offense was rolling on Saturday, and the bullpen did fantastic work to shut down Delmarva. Mitch Farris had a bit of an odd first inning, as after a walk he allowed an infield single to shortstop Cam Magee which ended up in Magee and manager Cody Gabella being ejected. Farris struck out the side in the inning, but allowed a hit and a double steal of second and home to bring in two runs. Farris allowed another run in the second inning, but added on two more strikeouts as he finished his outing with seven. In two Low-A starts Farris has been a whiff machine and has racked up 14 strikeouts in 7 2⁄3 innings. Adam Shoemaker pitched a long relief outing after this, and after a poor season for him it is nice to see him end his season with a strong stat line. Shoemaker didn’t allow a run over 3 2⁄3 innings, struck out six batters, and only walked one. The rest of the bullpen followed up this success as Elison Joseph and Landon Harper both struck out the side in scoreless innings. Augusta struck out 19 Wood Ducks in the win.
Pier-Olivier Boucher had his best professional game, and he led the team with four hits. The first of these gave Augusta their first run in the top of the second inning. In the fourth Boucher had an infield hit and Nick Clarno drew a walk, setting up a two-run, game-tying double from Ambioris Tavarez. Tavarez has had a tumultuous first full season in the system, but he is ending it strong and has a .913 OPS in eight September games though his strikeout remain concerningly high. Jeremy Celedonio gave Augusta a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning with his 17th home run of the season, and he is certainly an intriguing though very unlikely prospect to make it. On raw power alone Celedonio is either the strongest player in the system or second to Drew Lugbauer, with absurd high end exit velocities and nearly 1⁄3 of his hits leaving the yard. However his contact rates are akin to a child’s first taste of kid pitch so for now he is merely a fascinating presence who makes a show of batting practice and occasionally tanks one in a game. Augusta added a final run on a Jace Grady sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.