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Braves MILB Recap: Drew Waters returns, Jared Shuster and Tucker Davidson have strong starts

Drew Waters returned to the field for the first time in 2022 Thursday night

Drew Waters
Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

Thursday saw the return of Drew Waters from injury, a Vaughn Grissom homer and some big starts out of every starting pitcher in the system. That’s right, all four of Tucker Davidson, Jared Shuster, Tanner Gordon, and AJ Smith-Shawver turned in excellent starts on Thursday despite only one win in the minors on the day.

Norfolk Tides 6, Gwinnett Stripers 3

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, BB, R, 2B, 2 SB, .732 OPS
  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-3, RBI, .783 OPS
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 4.70 ERA

Tucker Davidson turned in a very good evening, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on just three hits and a walk while striking out nine. Those numbers are a bit deceiving, as he threw six shutout innings before coming out in the seventh and giving up the three runs after he was a little worn down. Davidson’s strong performance shows why he can be an asset for the Braves sometime this year if he ends up being needed. After Davidson the bullpen didn’t do much to help as Brandyn Sittinger allowed a run in his third of an inning, and then RJ Alaniz allowed a pair of unearned runs in two innings.

The Stripers had a little spark early, scoring a run in the second and two in the third, but that was all they could manage. Braden Shewmake was the biggest standout going 2-for-4 with a walk, double, run scored, and a pair of stolen bases off former Braves prospect Brett Cumberland. Greyson Jenista went 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Chadwick Tromp and Pat Valaika accounted for the other runs. Beyond the Shewmake double, the only extra base hit was a Valaika double.

Montgomery Biscuits 5, Mississippi Braves 0

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-4, .896 OPS
  • Hendrik Clementina, C: 2-3, 3B, .631 OPS
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 1.88 ERA

Jared Shuster continued his strong start to the season going seven innings and allowing just a pair of runs on a two-run homer. Shuster struck out seven and only allowed six base runners on the night. Justin Maese struggled out of the pen allowing three runs in one inning, putting this game out of reach.

Mississippi didn’t give Shuster much support, getting shutout and collecting just five hits in the process. Hendrik Clementina going 2-for-3 with a triple was the offensive star of the game. Michael Harris, Drew Lugbauer, and Jefrey Ramos each singled, accounting for the remainder of the Mississippi hits.

Rome Braves 11, Greensboro Grasshoppers 0

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, CF: 2-3, 2 R, 2B
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, HR, .741 OPS
  • Landon Stephens, LF: 3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, 1.056 OPS
  • Tyler Tolve, C: 3-4, R, 2 RBI, 3B, 1.074 OPS
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 1.64 ERA

Four pitchers for Rome combined for the shutout in this one, with Tanner Gordon getting the start. Gordon went six scoreless, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out 10 and dropped his ERA to 1.64 on the year. Dylan Spain, Davis Schwab, and Justin Yeager each threw a scoreless inning out of the pen to keep Greensboro off the board.

The big story here is the season debut of Drew Waters on a rehab assignment. Waters didn’t go the whole way, but he more than made his share of the impact in this 11-run outburst, going 2-for-3 with a double while scoring a pair of runs. Landon Stephens added his sixth homer of the season and went 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBI making him the most impactful member of the Rome offense on the night. Stephens had some competition for that though as Vaughn Grissom went 2-for-4 with a homer and drove in four, while Tyler Tolve went 3-for-4 with a triple and a pair of RBI himself. Cody Milligan also had three hits with a double and scored three runs to account for the rest of the Rome offense.

Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Augusta GreenJackets 3

Box Score

  • Caleb Durbin, SS: 2-5, RBI, 2B, SB, .939 OPS
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 2-4, RBI, 2B, .656 OPS
  • AJ Smith-Shawver, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 4.50 ERA
  • Rolddy Munoz, RP: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4.50 ERA
  • Tyler Owens, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 6.30 ERA

AJ Smith-Shawver bounced back from a rough end to his last start with a very successful outing. Smith-Shawver went five innings, allowing just a solo homer on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven. It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but you have to be impressed with his ability to miss bats early on in his first full pro season considering his fairly raw background due to splitting time between sports and hitting in high school. Rolddy Munoz followed and allowed three runs, though only one was earned, over two innings and struck out three. Tyler Owens got the last two innings and gave up a hit and walk as he pitched a pair of scoreless frames while striking out two.

Caleb Durbin was the standout for Augusta at the plate going 2-for-5 with a double, a steal, and continues to impress with his transition from D3 college ball to the pros as a hitter. Stephen Paolini also had two hits including a double. Brandol Mezquita and Adam Zebrowski each had a pair of singles in the loss.

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