It was sweep victory for the Atlanta Braves organization on Friday evening, as the affiliates all took home hard-fought wins to match the major league Braves performance in Los Angeles. Owen Murphy had a solid outing down in Rome to further build on his outstanding season, and Jesse Franklin stayed hot for Mississippi.
(60-68) Gwinnett Stripers 6, (63-67) Memphis RedBirds 4
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, .331/.416/.510
- Braden Shewmake, 2B: 1-5, 2B, RBI, .228/.295/.397
- Beau Burrows, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 5.65 ERA
Vaughn Grissom had a huge day at the plate, but for the second day in a row it came down to extra innings where his double play partner would have the game’s pivotal hit. The Stripers had to scrap together a bullpen game to get through this one, and the RedBirds took advantage of that early. They jumped on Beau Burrows in the first inning, getting a two-run home run from Matt Koperniak for the early lead. Burrows did his job from there and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced to finish out with no further damage. In the top of the third inning Grissom got the Stripers on the board with his eighth home run of the season and fourth in his last eight Triple-A games. Gwinnett came up with a huge rally in the top of the fourth inning, getting Dalton Guthrie and Justin Dean on base with two outs to set the top of the order up in good position. Yolmer Sanchez drove in Guthrie with a base hit to tie the game, and a wild pitch brought home Dean to put Gwinnett on top for the first time. Grissom added on by doubling in Sanchez and the game suddenly swung to the Stripers leading 4-1.
Brian Moran had a huge contribution on the mound for Gwinnett, as he gave them a shutdown inning following that big fourth and then a scoreless fifth. After his job was done Kodi Whitley had the task of the sixth inning, and the game was not kind to him. Whitley allowed a walk and then two straight hits which got Memphis one run back, though he was able to get a double play to strand a runner at third and save the lead. Whitley’s problems would unfortunately continue in the seventh inning when he was pulled after allowing another walk and a hit. Lucas Luetge could not put out the fire and allowed Memphis to tie the game back up with an infield hit. Gwinnett’s offense settled down in the latter half of the game, but the eighth inning provided them an opportunity to take back the lead. With two outs Hoy Park drew a walk and stole second base which brought up Dalton Guthrie. Guthrie beat out a slow chopper to shortstop, but on the play Park tried to score from second and a good throw from Juan Yepez beat him for the final out of the inning.
Luetge stayed in to pitch the eighth inning and was able to keep the game tied, which then brought in Seth Elledge for the ninth inning. Grissom made a two out error to keep the inning alive, but Elledge was able to strand a runner at second base to send the game to extra innings. Joe Dunand led off in extra innings, and he advanced the runner to third on the first pitch as he lined out to right field. This brought up Braden Shewmake, who was 0-4 on the day after leaving yesterday’s game following a hit by pitch. Shewmake came out swinging in the tenth inning, and on an 0-1 pitch he get a fastball up and went the other way driving it into the left center field gap. This double scored pinch runner Magneuris Sierra from third base, and set Shewmake up with a chance to extend the lead. Park made up for his earlier baserunning mishap by driving in Shewmake with a two out single, granting Elledge a two-run cushion. Elledge first had to face our old friend Juan Yepez, and on the first pitch of the inning he popped one into shallow left center field that no one could come up with. Fortunately the runner at second also couldn’t advance on the play, so the situation didn’t change much. Elledge forced a fly out, then with one out Moises Gomez snuck a ball over Drew Lugbauer into right field for a base hit which loaded the bases. The game was certainly getting scary, but Elledge forced a fly ball that couldn’t score the runner from third base for the second out of the inning. Then Elledge struck out pinch-hitter Irving Lopez looking to seal another extra inning win.
(54-69) Mississippi Braves 5, (56-68) Rocket City Trash Pandas 2
- Cody Milligan, CF: 1-4 HR, .278/.382/.415
- Jesse Franklin V, LF: 3-4 2 2B, 2 SB, 2 RBI, .237/.319/.437
- Domingo Robles, SP: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.62 ERA
- Brooks Wilson, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
Mississippi took their game a bit less down-to-the-wire, but it took late runs and a big game from Jesse Franklin to lead them to victory. Franklin is coming off of a tremendous July in which he hit .268/.361/.493, and he seems to want more in September. After a two-out double from Luke Waddell it was Franklin who opened the scoring with an RBI single. Two innings later and the lead would double when Cody Milligan hit his second home run of the season to make it 2-0. The game would not stay this easy, however, and the Trash Pandas made a comeback which tied the game up in the fifth inning. Franklin came up to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning and he showed off his power, turning on a pitch and banging it off of the right field wall for a double. Franklin then stole third base — his 18th stolen base of the year — but here he got caught a one hopper to the third baseman had Franklin in no-man’s land and he was tagged out for the first out of the inning. No matter, as a base hit from Bryson Horne and a passed ball would score Joshua Fuentes and give Mississippi the lead regardless. In the seventh inning Franklin delivered again, crushing another double off of the right field wall which would have been a home run in Truist Park. This scored Cal Conley, and on the next play Drake Baldwin reached on a base hit and a throwing error from the shortstop which scored Franklin from second base.
Domingo Robles was effective for the Braves, but he wasn’t great as he did allow a baserunner in every inning he pitched. Still, he was able to work around that and never gave up more than one runner until the fifth inning when the game went a bit away from the plans. Robles allowed three hits and a walk in the inning to score two runs, finally getting out of the inning when the defense came up with a good play to get a runner caught on the basepaths. Robles allowed two hits to open up the sixth inning, but a strikeout and a double play kept the game tied and sent it over to the bullpen. Patrick Halligan got the first assignment, and outside of an error had no trouble working through his inning in the seventh. Once the Braves took that big lead they turned it over to Brooks Wilson, who in his journey to hopefully get himself back in position to compete for a bullpen job in Atlanta had a good outing. Wilson struck out the first two batters he faced before getting a ground ball to first base to end the inning. Tyler Owens locked down the save in the ninth, striking out the final batter of the game.
(60-64) Rome Braves 5, (59-60) Winston-Salem Dash 4
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 3-5, 2B, .226/.332/.330
- David McCabe, 3B: 3-5, RBI, .280/.387/.443
- Owen Murphy, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 4.09 ERA
Close games were all over the place Saturday, and Rome’s late comeback effort preserved the sweep. After falling behind 2-0 early Rome spent the first stages of this game trying to make a comeback, and their first of two went off well. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. had a third inning double to put a runner in scoring position for the first time, and Nacho Alvarez made sure the opportunity was not wasted as he drove Kilpatrick in with a base hit. One inning later and Rome found themselves on top. Keshawn Ogans had a big game at the plate, and his double set up a scoring inning for the Braves. A walk to Justin Janas and a stolen base from Janas had both men in scoring position with two outs where Stephen Paolini came away with the big hit to drive in both and give Rome a lead. Winston-Salem came back, however, and going into the eighth inning the Braves trailed 4-3. Here Geraldo Quintero wore one to get on base, then scored when Ogans doubled him home to tie the game up. Kilpatrick had his third hit of the game in the ninth inning, and when Alvarez drew a walk it put Kilpatrick in scoring position for the middle of the order. Quintero couldn’t come through as he popped out, but David McCabe delivered a two out base hit which gave Rome the lead and the game.
The game got off to a rough start for Owen Murphy, and two batters in he was trailing after a walk and a double. A sacrifice fly then brought home the second run of the inning, but Murphy settled down and got two strikeouts to end the inning. Murphy kept striking out Dash hitters, getting six of them across his first three frames as the Braves came back to give him the lead. A lead which he immediately gave up as a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth tied the game back up. Murphy allowed a couple of bad luck hits in the fourth and fifth inning, but got double plays to erase both and finished out the game with five innings. His seven strikeouts moved him up to fourth place in the organization this season, though it’s unlikely he catches the top three at this point. Hunter Riggins came in out of the bullpen, and a leadoff walk turned into runs when he allowed a two out hit to give Winston-Salem the lead. Miguel Pena had a fantastic relief outing, getting the win as he went two scoreless innings with the only runner coming on a two out walk in the eighth inning. Ronaldo Alesandro came in to close the game out in the ninth, and he got two quick outs before getting himself in trouble. Alesandro loaded the bases on a hit and two walks before mercifully getting the final out as a fly ball settled into the glove of Kevin Kilpatrick.
(58-65) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (53-68) Salem Red Sox 1
- Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 3-5, 2B, RBI, .212/.312/.333
- Tyler Collins, CF: 2-4, SB, RBI, .206/.292/.261
- Riley Gowens, SP: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1.93 ERA
Ambioris Tavarez has been on a quiet run of good play for Augusta, and his three hits in this one were a key contribution in a relatively stress-free game for the GreenJackets. Cam Magee also had a solid game out of the two spot, and in the first inning his one out double set up Sabin Ceballos to drive in the early go-ahead run. Augusta added on more in the bottom of the second inning with Tyler Collins getting a ball through for a single to drive in Pier-Olivier Boucher and double the lead. Finally Tavarez made his name known in the fourth inning when he ripped a two-out RBI double to extend the lead even further to 3-0. The GreenJackets kept the hits coming throughout the game, but it wasn’t until the seventh inning when they got back in the scoring column. Drew Compton tripled with one out in the inning, making it easy for him to score on Kade Kern’s RBI single and get a run back making it 4-0.
The new-look Augusta pitching staff made quick work of the Red Sox lineup, allowing four hits and striking out 12 batters as they cruised to a win. Riley Gowens could not have asked for a better start to his career and through four innings he faced the minimum numbers of batters while striking out four. Gowens retired another to lead off the fifth inning, then finally saw a bit of adversity as he sandwiched a strikeout in between a single and a walk. This ended his day with two outs in the fifth inning, and Cory Wall was in position to get out of the inning. Wall did not, allowing a hit to the first batter he faced to score the inherited runner. Wall had a phenomenal day after that, allowing only one more hit as he struck out six batters over 3 1⁄3 innings of scoreless relief. Giomar Diaz made sure there would be no drama and went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning on just 10 pitches to get his second save in a GreenJackets uniform.