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Braves MILB Recap: Darius Vines, Andrew Hoffmann continue strong starts

Both Darius Vines and Andrew Hoffmann continued their strong starts to 2022 in a big way on Thursday night.

Darius Vines
Mills Fitzner

Thursday saw a pair of really strong pitching performances from guys the Atlanta Braves recently drafted, Darius Vines in 2019 and Andrew Hoffmann last year. Both guys completely controlled the game from the mound, allowing three runs over 12 1/3 IP a number that was nearly one run in 12 IP before Vines was touched for a pair of runs late in his start.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 8, Gwinnett Stripers 2

Box Score

  • William Contreras, C: 1-4, RBI, .467 OPS
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, .676 OPS
  • Jasseel De La Cruz, SP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 8.22 ERA

Jasseel De La Cruz allowed a first inning run, but appeared to settle in before a third inning error saddled him with three unearned runs and caused an early exit. Nick Vincent followed and didn’t have any better luck allowing three runs over two innings to account for the rest of the scoring against the Stripers. Thomas Burrows and RJ Alaniz each had a scoreless inning, then Michael Tonkin combined with Jesus Cruz for the final inning.

The offense managed just four hits on the night, led by Braden Shewmake who had two hits. William Contreras singled and knocked in one of the runs, while the final hit of the game was a double from Preston Tucker. Outside of those three, only Delino DeShields drawing two walks and stealing a base had a notable performance.

Mississippi Braves 4, Chattanooga Lookouts 3

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, RF: 0-3, R, .841 OPS
  • Darius Vines, SP: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.51 ERA
  • Justin Maese, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.59 ERA

Darius Vines was dealing on Thursday, shutting down top prospect Matt McLain and Chattanooga’s offense. Vines was pitching a shutout through six innings before allowing a pair of runs when he came back out for the seventh. Overall Vines went 6 13 and allowed a two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five. Trey Riley allowed a run over 1 1/3 innings before turning it over to Justin Maese who struck out three of the final four hitters he faced to close it out.

While the pitching was strong, the Braves managed just three three hits and took advantage of some shaky defense by the Lookouts. The standout was Hendrik Clementina, who had a hit and an RBI to go along with a pair of walks. Michael Harris and Jesse Franklin both finished the game 0-for-3.

Rome Braves 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2

Box Score

  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 2-4, BB, R, RBI, 2B, .734 OPS
  • Andrew Moritz, LF: 1-2, 2 BB, R, .956 OPS
  • Andrew Hoffmann, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 11 K, 3.00 ERA

If Darius Vines was very good, then Andrew Hoffmann was great on Thursday. The Braves’ 12th round pick out of Illinois last summer allowed just three hits and a run over six innings while striking out 11. Hoffmann was in complete command on the mound to the point he was almost able to toy with hitters, a sign he may not need much longer before he’s ready for promotion. Jake McSteen and Lisandro Santos threw scoreless innings before Dylan Spain gave up a solo homer in his inning of work while picking up the save.

While the offense only scored four runs, every Rome starter reached base. Justyn-Henry Malloy went 2-for-4 with a double while Cody Milligan was also 2-for-4 with a walk and a pair of stolen bases. Andrew Moritz was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.

Fayetteville Woodpeckers 7, Augusta GreenJackets 1

Box Score

  • Kadon Morton, LF: 1-4
  • AJ Smith Shawver, SP: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K
  • JJ Niekro, RP: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA

AJ Smith-Shawver got the start and had an interesting game to say the least. He struck out the side in the first inning but struggled in the second with four walks and a wild pitch. He exited with two outs in the second having allowed two runs. JJ Niekro followed and had a big performance, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless while allowing just one hit and one walk as he struck out five. After Niekro, Elison Joseph came in and allowed four runs in just one inning, Ben Thompson got into some trouble but didn’t allow a run over two thirds of an inning, Rob Griswold allowed a run in his inning, and Luis Vargas also got into trouble without letting anyone score in his inning.

This was another affiliate without much offense as Augusta combined for just three hits, and no extra base hits. The singles came from Kadon Morton, Brandon Parker, and Braulio Vasquez