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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Michael Harris homers in a standout performance

Michael Harris II did everything right and stood out in every part of the game with a marvelous performance

Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Image Credit: Mills Fitzner

The night was full of action for the Atlanta Braves system, and Michael Harris II was the shining star. Harris went off, including his second home run of the season, in a Mississippi loss.

(8-12) Gwinnett Stripers 8, (11-9) Norfolk Tides 12

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuna Jr., RF: 2-5, .368/.520/.421
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-5, HR, RBI, .264/.264/.415
  • William Contreras, LF: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .292/.333/.354
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2.04 ERA
  • Dylan Lee, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2.35 ERA

Gwinnett had a big offense night and recorded 18 hits on the way to an 8-2 win. Ronald Acuna Jr. continues to show out in his rehab, and for the first time played all nine innings in the field and came to the plate five times. His first trip he wasted no time getting into the game and lined a base hit into left field. After being forced out at second base the rest of the Stripers offense went to work and William Contreras had the first RBI on the night on a ground ball in the hole that neither the third baseman or shortstop could come up with. Acuna had his second chance in the second inning after a Delino DeShields RBI double, and he worked much deeper in this count but whiffed on a 3-2 offering for the inning’s second out. Gwinnett’s offense really broke out in the third inning with Preston Tucker, Phil Gosselin, and Contreras all having hits to score two runs and make it 4-2. After a fielder’s choice out in the fourth inning Acuna was able to scratch through as he flipped another single into left field in the fifth inning for his second hit of the game. Acuna struck out in his final plate appearance, but the day for the Stripers as a whole was not done. Braden Shewmake led off in the 8th inning by crushing a solo home run, his second of the season, and Gwinnett scored another run in the inning to give them an 8-2 win.

Touki Toussaint had a rough outing on the mound, but despite allowing eleven baserunners he was able to get away with only two runs allowed. Toussaint’s command eluded him for the entirety of the start and he had only one inning without a walk or hit batter. A couple of double plays helped him get through three innings until the Tides were able to string together hits in the fourth to burn him. A two out single scored the first Norfolk run and after Toussaint allowed a walk to move the runner to second base he allowed another base hit to score a second run. The best news for Toussaint was that he forced a high ground ball rate, with six of his outs coming on ground balls including three double plays, and no fly ball outs recorded. Gwinnett’s bullpen had a routine time closing out the win as the allowed only one hit across the game’s final four innings. Jesus Cruz covered two innings of hitless ball while Brad Brach and Dylan Lee each contributed a single inning to finish out the game.

Next Game: 4/28 vs (11-9) Norfolk Tides @ 7:05 PM ET

(5-12) Mississippi Braves 9, (8-8) Montgomery Biscuits 10

Box Score

  • Michael Harris II, CF: 2-4, HR, 2B, BB, SB, 2 RBI .319/.382/.536
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI, .259/.322/.333
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-4, HR, BB, .279/.397/.639
  • Darius Vines, SP: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 5.50 ERA
  • Jake Higginbotham, RP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 11.37 ERA

The Michael Harris show brought its full glory to Montgomery, and the Mississippi bats produced four home runs despite the loss. Harris’s outstanding day started on the first at bat of the game, as he crushed a line drive off of the right field wall for a double before scoring the go ahead run on a Luke Waddell double. Passed balls allowed Waddell to come around to score, and left Mississippi with a two run lead. The bottom of the order produced two hits and a walk to load the bases in the second inning, but this time Harris came up a bit short and grounded out to drive in only a run. Waddell was there to pick him up, however, and smashed a critical two run single to extend the lead to 5-1. When Harris unloaded on a high fastball to send it over the right field wall for his second home run of the season the game seemed in control, but a big inning from Montgomery followed and Mississippi was playing catch up in the fifth.

The Braves didn’t trail for long, however, and Jalen Miller drilled his first home run of the season to tie the game at 7-7. Two innings later the home run bats were on display once again, with Yariel Gonzalez and Drew Lugbauer going back-to-back to lead off the seventh and give Mississippi a 9-7 lead. Lugbauer’s shot in particular was magnificent, as he took one into the train track the opposite way for his sixth home run of the season. Montgomery bounced back and put up a three spot to retake the lead and Mississippi found themselves needing to scrap for runs again. Harris was able to reach base on a dropped third strike, steal a base, and advance to third on Waddell’s third hit, but both runners were stranded by a strikeout and the Braves struck out looking three straight times in the ninth to end the game.

Darius Vines looking in control through three innings of his start, but ran into a wall as he could not miss bats in the fourth inning. Vines got rudely greeted in the first inning by Greg Jones, who crushed a solo home run off of him to cut the lead for Mississippi to 2-1. Vines bounced back, and after a single to the next batters struck out the final two batters of the inning before a dominant second inning where he struck out two more and forced a weak ground out. Vines cruised with another 1-2-3 frame in the third inning, but things got ugly quickly in the fourth. After hitting the leadoff batter and striking out the next Vines allowed four hits to the next five batters including a go ahead two run home run. After he hit Jones with a pitch following the home run his night was done, and the Braves turned to Coleman Huntley to stop the bleeding. Huntley was able to escape and give the Braves 2 13 strong innings as he lowered his ERA to 0.84. With that strong seventh in the books they turned to Trey Riley, and things immediately shifted. Riley gave up four hits, including two with two outs, to bring in three runs. He was pulled from the game following an RBI triple, and Jake Higginbotham covered the rest of the day without allowing a run.

Next Game: 4/28 @ (8-8) Montgomery Biscuits @ 7:35 PM ET

(10-7) Rome Braves 1, (7-10) Greensboro Grasshoppers 3

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-5, .250/.384/.283
  • Drew Campbell, LF: 1-3, 2 BB, .273/.355/.327
  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 1-2, 2 BB, .233/.340/.256
  • Andrew Hoffmann, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.86 ERA
  • Martin Van Buren, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.70 ERA

Rome came back from their 17 run outburst last night to put up one run in support of Andrew Hoffmann in a close loss. After falling behind 2-0 the Braves had their best scoring opportunity in the fourth inning when Landon Stephens led off the inning with a walk, but this turned as he was caught trying to steal second base. The rest of the Braves came through behind him with two walks and a base hit, but despite loading the bases they had no luck pushing runs home. This was the theme of the next two innings, as a caught stealing in the fifth and a double play in the sixth erased baserunners that had a chance to make an impact on the final score. Finally despite Rome’s bests efforts to do nothing the Grasshoppers reminded everyone this is A ball and gifted the Braves a run. After a one out walk Vaughn Grissom strolled to the plate, definitely the player Rome wants up in that spot, but he rolled over a ball to the third baseman. That third baseman rushed the throw a bit and just launched it over the outstretched arm of the first baseman for a run scoring error. Despite then loading the bases on more walks Rome still couldn’t push through a run of their own doing as three strikeouts in the inning stopped any chance of comeback.

Andrew Hoffmann was a bit more normal in this outing, but still gave Rome a career-high-tying seven innings and only allowed two runs. Hoffmann was aided by his defense and some timely ground balls through the first two innings as he was the beneficiary of two double plays to keep runs off of the board. Hoffmann pitched his best inning with two strikeouts and a line out in the third, but the game immediately switched as it went to the fourth scoreless. A two run home run from old friend Abrahan Gutierrez leaped the Grasshoppers into the lead, and that was all she wrote with the Rome offense taking a vacation. After a leadoff walk in the fifth inning Hoffmann retired the final nine batters of his start to give the floundering offense a chance to make a comeback. The two run lead turned to three the moment that arm barn door swung open as RJ Freure allowed a run in the eighth inning. Martin Van Buren kept his strong work this season going and pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Next Game: 4/28 vs (7-10) Greensboro Grasshoppers @ 7:00 PM ET

(9-8) Augusta GreenJackets 14, (5-12) Delmarva Shorebirds 2

Box Score

  • Caleb Durbin, SS: 3-5, 2 2B, SB, 3 RBI, .333/.462/.471
  • Brandol Mezquita, RF: 1-4 BB, RBI, .339/.444/.393
  • Victor De Hoyos, C: 5-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, .385/.385/.769
  • Luis Vargas, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
  • Peyton Williams, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5.40 ERA

Augusta went off for a massive sixth inning and had no trouble cruising to a 14-2 win. The GreenJackets chipped in a few runs in the early going, primarily thanks to Caleb Durbin, who singled to lead off the game, stole second base, advanced on a single and then scored on Brandol Mezquita’s sacrifice fly. Another sacrifice fly in the second inning forced home a run before Durbin drove in one of his own as a ground out brought in Victor De Hoyos. De Hoyos was the key contributor to the sixth inning, and it got rolling in a hurry with four consecutive hits to score two runs. After a hit batter loaded the bases a wild pitch brought in number three and the game went a bit off of the rails with walks, balks, passed balls, and wild pitches. Brandon Parker singled to score the sixth run of the inning, but the candle on the cake was De Hoyos crushing a three run home run to make it an even ten runs scored in the inning. After that complete mess of an inning the game settled down a bit with the GreenJackets plating one more run in the eighth inning from another Durbin RBI.

19 year old Luis Vargas is off to a pretty rocking start to the season, with a 0.00 ERA through four appearances totaling 11 23 innings. This was the first start of his professional career, and he carried himself well with five strikeouts over four scoreless innings. Walks were a bit of a trouble spot in this game as he racked up three of them, and they have been all season, but overall he has put out an impressive performance for a teenager. Issrael De La Cruz kept his 0.00 ERA going as well with a couple of scoreless relief innings despite walking two batters. The only Augusta pitcher to allow a run was James Acuna, who decided to let the Shorebirds have a little pride and gave up two in the seventh inning. With the game tightening to just eleven runs the GreenJackets were forced to go to Peyton Williams to close out the game, and he dominated with two scoreless innings on 19 pitches to finish off Delmarva.

Next Game: 4/28 vs (5-12) Delmarva Shorebirds @ 7:05 PM ET