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Braves Minor League Recap: Landon Stephens Hits 7th Home Run

We have an organizational sweep on our hands as the affiliates each took home offense-driven wins

Rome Braves prospect Landon Stephens follows through on a swing after hitting a home run.
Landon Stephens crushes a home run for the Rome Braves
Photo Credit: Mills Fitzner

The offenses were hot down on the farm for the Atlanta Braves, with a combined 33 runs scored between all three levels. The pitching staffs held up their end of the bargain as well as we had an organizational sweep. Michael Harris II once again had a huge impact as he reached base three times to extend his minor-league-leading on base streak to 19 games.

(9-13) Gwinnett Stripers 8, (12-10) Norfolk Tides 0

Box Score

  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-2, 3 BB, .240/.328/.500
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, BB, .295/.317/.443
  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-4, 2B, SB, 2 RBI, .216/.255/.255
  • Connor Johnstone, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1.17 ERA
  • Nick Vincent, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 5.40 ERA

Gwinnett’s pitching staff shut down the Tides and the offense pulled away with a big fifth inning to cruise to a win. Recently signed Hernan Perez started off the first rally in the second inning as he led off with a base hit and came around to score the game’s first run. Braden Shewmake reached base three times in this game, including his first walk of the season, and in the third inning had an infield single which led to him scoring the second run of the game. When the fifth inning rolled around the game went Low-A mode as the first four batters of the inning drew walks, and along with a wild pitch and a walk two of those scored. A sacrifice fly, two more wild pitches, and a Justin Dean infield hit later and Gwinnett had exploded to a 6-0 lead. Walks again contributed to Gwinnett’s success in the seventh inning as the first two batters of the inning drew walks and came around to score.

Kyle Muller’s start day was pushed back and that left swing man extraordinaire Connor Johnstone in the starting role. Johnstone was a ground ball machine for Gwinnett, and forced six ground ball outs including two double plays over four scoreless innings. The bullpen for Gwinnett kept his work going, starting with an outstanding appearance from Seth Elledge. Elledge retired all six batters he faced and struck out four of them. Brandon Brennan pitched a scoreless seventh inning and Nick Vincent closed out the game with two hitless inning and four strikeouts.

Next Game: 4/30 vs (12-10) Norfolk Tides @ 6:05 PM ET

(6-13) Mississippi Braves 9, (9-9) Montgomery Biscuits 4

Box Score

  • Michael Harris II, CF: 1-3, 2 BB, SB, RBI .316/.388/.513
  • Yariel Gonzalez, 2B: 3-4, HR, 2B, BB, SB, 2 RBI, .273/.304/.636
  • Riley Delgado, SS: 3-4, HR, 2 RBI, .324/.405/.432
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 7.11 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 6.14 ERA

The starters battled in this game early, but it became a war of scoring off of the bullpen and the Mississippi Braves won that part handily. Despite shaky command early, including two walks to Michael Harris, Biscuits starter Ian Seymour was able to mostly contain the Braves. The only hit against him was a big one, however, as Yariel Gonzalez gave Mississippi a lead with a solo home run in the fourth. Now taking cracks at the bullpen it was Hendrik Clementina coming through to give Mississippi another lead as he homered in the sixth inning to make it 2-1. Riley Delgado has been hitting the ball hard a lot in this series and was rewarded in a big way in the seventh as he snuck his first home run of the season out to extend the lead by two runs. Montgomery bounced back to get within one, but the Braves pulled away in the ninth to take a win. Michael Harris had an RBI single — his league-leading 16th RBI — and Mississippi scored five runs in the ninth inning. Yariel Gonzalez had the biggest hit as he netted an RBI double that put the game at 8-3.

Alan Rangel has been atrocious to start the season, but a sharp outing in this one hopefully has him back on track. Rangel commanded the ball well from the outset and was able to avoid bats to rack up six strikeouts and no walks over five innings. Rangel was in complete command of the game with only one hit allowed through three innings, but a leadoff double in the fourth got him in a bit of hot water. He forced three consecutive ground ball outs which brought in a run against him to tie the game. A two out triple in his final inning put him in more trouble, but hard contact came few and far in between and he got a pop out to keep the game tied. Odalvi Javier was sensational in his outing, giving two hitless and scoreless innings of relief work as Mississippi was able to pull ahead in the game. Tyler Ferguson’s own throwing error led to two unearned runs in the ninth inning, but he was able to hold on to the lead at the last minute as he snagged a line drive back to him and was able to double the potential game-tying runner off at third base. Indigo Diaz struck out two in the ninth but lost his short scoreless streak on a solo home run that was of no consequence to the outcome.

Next Game: 4/28 @ (9-9) Montgomery Biscuits @ 7:05 PM ET

(12-7) Rome Braves 10, (7-12) Bowling Green Hot Rods 6

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-5, 2B, SB, 3 RBI, .275/.398/.362
  • Landon Stephens, LF: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI, .267/.405/.650
  • Tyler Tolve, C: 1-4, HR, .357/.378/.714
  • Luis De Avila, SP: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 3.93 ERA
  • Lisandro Santos, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome and Greensboro went back and fourth early in this game, however Rome’s offense did not relent and scored in six of the eight innings they came to bat to pull away. Rome quickly jumped ahead in the contest thanks to Drew Campbell, who put a ball over the fence in the first inning to drive in two runs. Greensboro fought back to tie the game up before Tyler Tolve untied it again with an opposite field blast. The Grasshoppers answered with a four run inning to take their first and only lead of the game before the Rome offense got into gear with a bit of solar assistance (not to be confused with Soler assistance RIP Luis Garcia’s slider). Two walks in the inning had runners on for Vaughn Grissom with two outs. Grissom lifted a routine pop out behind second base, and the fielder stood there with his hands on his head, ball lost in the skies, praying for a miracle and to not be wiped out by the falling comet as it bounced harmlessly on the turf behind him for a two run double. Landon Stephens followed by sneaking his seventh home run of the season off of the left field foul pole to give the Braves a 7-6 lead. Rome kept adding on runs to pull away in the game. A wild pitch in the sixth inning pushed home the eighth run of the game. In the seventh Beau Phillip drove in Vaughn Grissom with a double that went about twice as far as Grissom's which made it 9-6. Grissom got one more plate appearance in the game and scored Christian Robinson on a ground out for an even ten runs.

Luis De Avila did not have as much fun as his counterparts at the plate as he struggled to really settle into this game. De Avila had a 1-2-3 first inning, but after being given a lead to work with started to bleed base hits. Two of them in the second inning brought in a run to score and after the only two walks of the game for him he allowed a two-out, game-tying single in the third inning. Now comfortable with a tied game he pitched another perfect inning, but once he got a single run lead he once again went back to giving up hits. De Avila allowed two more in the fifth inning before a one out home run put Greensboro up 5-3 and ended De Avila’s day. Jake McSteen came on in relief, immediately allowed a home run, then posted one of the weirder stat lines you will see. McSteen recorded five outs and has six strikeouts as the first came on a wild pitch which allowed the runner to reach. The bullpen as a whole churned out strikeouts, as Lisandro Santos had five of them in two scoreless innings. Austin Smith made it an even 20 strikeouts for the team when he closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning and one strikeout.

Next Game: 4/28 vs (7-12) Greensboro Grasshoppers @ 6:00 PM ET

(10-9) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (6-13) Fayetteville Woodpeckers 4

Box Score

  • Caleb Durbin, SS: 2-4, 2B, .350/.459/.500
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 2-3, BB, RBI, .267/.380/.317
  • Braulio Vasquez, DH: 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, .290/.421/.548
  • Landon Leach, SP: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2.75 ERA
  • Estarlin Rodriguez, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 7.62 ERA

Augusta and Delmarva played a relatively disaster-free game as despite the five errors between them there were only four walks each and two total unearned runs. We’ll call that clean for Single-A. Augusta broke through in the second inning with some huge hits, taking over a lead they would never relinquish. Mahki Backstrom started off the scoring with an RBI double to score Brandol Mezquita and the light of my life Braulio Vasquez crushed a two run home run make the game 3-1. Brian Klein tacked on a fourth run with an RBI double and the game seemed fairly well in hand early. For insurance Stephen Paolini and Adam Zebrowski knocked in runs in a two run fifth inning, and those became critical as the game tightened up late.

Landon Leach was in at least a bit of trouble for almost every pitch he threw in this outing, but he battled admirably to hold Delmarva to just two runs. The Shorebirds took an early lead in the second inning thanks to a two out triple, but Leach held them there for a while scattering handful of baserunners while recording nine ground ball outs. Finally in the sixth inning there was some extended success against Leach as the first three batters of the inning reached base to give the Shorebirds a threat of a comeback. A ground out forced a run in, but Leach held his own striking out a batter for the second out before turning the ball over to Estarlin Rodriguez who closed the inning with no further damage. Rodriguez allowed a solo home run in the eighth inning which scored a run, but did well to complete two innings and keep the Shorebirds at a distance. Finally the Single-A defense demon woke up to terrorize the GreenJackets in the ninth, as they committed consecutive errors to score a run and make it 6-4. A single by old friend Greg Cullen put the tying run on base with no outs, but Rob Griswold got a huge strikeout and then a game-ending double play to preserve an Augusta win.

Next Game: 4/28 vs (6-13) Delmarva Shorebirds @ 6:05 PM ET

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