As we wind down the season much of the hope is that everyone ends the season in good health, and for Gwinnett two players who could play a role in the postseason in Atlanta did well to prove that. Vaughn Grissom returned from the injured list and had a hit in his first game back, while Jesse Chavez looked youthful as he dominated the Jumbo Shrimp in his lone inning. Mississippi also took a win on Thursday, with Drake Baldwin leaving the yard for the first time in an M-Braves uniform.
(66-73) Gwinnett Stripers 9, (68-72) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 4
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-6, .330/.414/.505
- Justin Dean, CF: 2-5, HR, .168/.311/.266
- Alan Rangel, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 5.80 ERA
- Jesse Chavez, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
The Gwinnett offense went off later in this one to cruise to a win, and saw the return of Vaughn Grissom at shortstop. Grissom had a short injured list stint dating back to the 2nd of the month, and now with that behind him he has hope to earn himself a postseason roster spot with Atlanta. His first game back didn’t see him contribute as much as some of his teammates, but he played a key role in the biggest Stripers inning. Gwinnett went into the fifth inning trailing 3-1, and after failing to score on a bases loaded opportunity in the fourth inning they needed to start chipping away. Grissom got jammed on a fastball, but he managed to flare it into center field for a one-out single and the offense was off to the races. A walk followed and Jesus Aguilar drove in Grissom with a single to bring the game within a run. After another walk loaded the bases Dalton Guthrie came up with the game’s biggest hit as he drove in two runs with a two-out single to give Gwinnett their first lead of the game. Justin Dean added on in the sixth inning with a solo home run and from there the bullpen had the game under control. Joshua Fuentes extended the Gwinnett lead by doubling home two runs in the seventh inning and to make it sting more Yolmer Sanchez drove in two more with a base hit in the eighth.
Alan Rangel’s outing got off to a poor start, and four pitches into the game he found himself trailing 2-0 on a Jacob Amaya home run. This quick onslaught put the Stripers in an early hole, but Rangel bounced back and over the next seven batters he struck out three while forcing only weak contact. Then the second time through the lineup leadoff hitter Jake Mangum jumped on Rangel early, tripling to set up the third run of the game as Amaya brought him home on a sacrifice fly. Amaya snuck in another hard hit single in the fifth inning, but Rangel was able to work around this and hole the Jumbo Shrimp over the next three innings. Jesse Chavez was the first man out of the bullpen for Gwinnett, and he looked very ready to return to Atlanta as he struck out all three batters that he faced, two of those swinging. Kodi Whitley and Brian Moran each tacked on scoreless innings of relief, and while the Shrimp got a solo home run off of Seth Elledge in the ninth it was no struggle for him to close out the game.
(61-73) Mississippi Braves 8, (77-56) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2
- Drake Baldwin, DH: 1-4, HR, BB, .295/.340/.386
- Jesse Franklin V, LF-CF: 1-3, 2 BB, .230/.315/.415
- Domingo Robles, SP: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.39 ERA
Mississippi boomed on the Blue Wahoos in the second inning and took an easy win. It took just one pitch in the second inning for Drake Baldwin to break a scoreless tie, as he cranked one over the batter’s eye in center field for his first Double-A home run. Pensacola then walked the bases loaded, setting up Landon Stephens to break the game open. Stephens fell behind 0-2 in the count, got a fat fastball and crushed it over the left field wall for a grand slam. The second inning was the end of the line for Pensacola’s starter and the Braves added on a few runs against the relief corp. Hendrik Clementina singled in the next inning to score Jesse Franklin, but the Braves wouldn’t score over the next five innings as Pensacola took their fruitless shots at a comeback. Down to the final out of the ninth inning the Braves finally did a bit more adding on, with Franklin starting a short rally with a base hit. Javier Valdes followed with a single that would score Franklin after the shortstop dropped the relay throw, and Hendrik Clementina capped off the game with an RBI double. Valdes was a key factor in this game, reaching base four times with two hits and two walks.
Mississippi ran through many of the veterans of their cast on the pitching staff, starting with a solid start from Domingo Robles. Robles didn’t throw many strikes and didn’t get many whiffs, but he managed to still hold the Blue Wahoos scoreless across the first five innings as they struggled to make hard contact against him. Robles allowed a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, and after getting two quick outs Pensacola would finally break through with two base hits and an error in left field scored two runs and ended the day for Robles. Nick Margevicius then retired all four batters he faced, and in total the bullpen went 10 up and 10 down. Patrick Halligan took the ball in the eighth inning, quickly running through the top three of the Blue Wahoos lineup in order. Kyle Wilcox closed out the ninth inning, getting two called strikeouts with the latter ending the game.