Thursday was an interesting day down in the farm for the Braves. Jared Shuster and Bryce Elder turned in excellent starts, while the Augusta offense led by Cal Conley and Brandol Mezquita went off against Carolina. This could be the beginnings of a breakout by Mezquita.
Gwinnett Stripers 3, Charlotte Knights 2
- Greyson Jenista, RF: 2-4, .834 OPS
- Preston Tucker, LF: 3-4, RBI, .818 OPS
- Pat Valaika, 3B: 2-4, 2 R, 2B, .831 OPS
- Bryce Elder, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 2.57 ERA
After being sent down from the big leagues, Bryce Elder rebounded with a great start in his first game back with the Stripers. Elder went seven innings, and outside of a two-run homer in the sixth inning, held down the Charlotte offense completely, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. Starts like this will only help Elder’s case to get another shot in Atlanta should the need arise. Michael Tonkin and Connor Johnstone followed Elder with a scoreless inning apiece to close out this win.
The offense didn’t do a lot in this one outside of three guys. Preston Tucker went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Pat Valaika went 2-for-4 with a double while scoring two of Gwinnett’s three runs and Greyson Jenista added a pair of hits. Outside of that trio, a Chadwick Tromp double was the only other Striper hit, while the team drew just two walks.
Mississippi Braves 2, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1
- Michael Harris, CF: 1-4, 2B, .936 OPS
- Jared Shuster, SP: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 1.84 ERA
- Indigo Diaz, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.50 ERA
Jared Shuster had another excellent start, giving up just one run over 5 1/3 innings. Shuster allowed just three hits and didn’t walk anyone while striking out six. He has been excellent this season, however he had one small flaw to date allowing a homer in each of the three starts that he has allowed a run. This time Shuster’s run didn’t come via the long ball. While it is too soon to worry about this being a bigger issue, it is a good sign that he didn’t allow another. Hayden Deal followed with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, then scoreless innings from Indigo Diaz and Justin Maese. Diaz seems to be back on the right track after a slow start to his season.
The offense didn’t do a lot, but they did enough to get the win. Michael Harris continued his great start with a double, though struck out in his other three at bats. Drew Lugbauer and Yariel Gonzalez also added doubles, with Gonzalez and Trey Harris picking up the runs batted in.
Greenville Drive 7, Rome Braves 4
- Cade Bunnell, 1B: 3-4, R, .645 OPS
- Cody Milligan, CF: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B, SB, .870 OPS
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 1-4, BB, RBI, .813 OPS
The start went to Luis De Avila and he struggled through five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, including three homers. De Avila was followed by Davis Schwab, who gave up a run over two innings of work, and Justin Yeager, who threw a scoreless frame.
The pitching got Rome into a hole that the offense was never able to get out of, but they did draw close in the fifth inning before allowing Greenville to tack on to their lead. The star here was Cody Milligan, who went 2-for-5 with a double, run scored, pair of RBI, and a stolen base. Cade Bunnell went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Among the top prospects, Justyn-Henry Malloy went 1-for-4 with a walk and RBI while Vaughn Grissom was 0-for-4 with a walk and picked up an RBI of his own.
Augusta GreenJackets 10, Carolina Mudcats 5
- Brandol Mezquita, RF: 3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR, .933 OPS
- Cal Conley, SS: 3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, 3B, HR, .670 OPS
- Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-2, 3 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, .810 OPS
- Estarlin Rodriguez, RP: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 5.82 ERA
This was an interesting game to say the least. Landon Leach got the start and allowed five runs in the bottom of the first. Estarlin Rodriguez came into the game in the second inning and tossed four hitless innings of relief allowing two walks and striking out four. Juan Mateo and Rob Griswold followed Rodriguez and each threw a pair of scoreless innings. So the starter lasts one inning and gives up five runs on five hits in his inning, and the bullpen throws eight no-hit innings without giving up any further runs.
There were plenty of standouts at the plate, but Cal Conley was the biggest. Conley was a hit short on the cycle in six at bats with the missing hit being a single of all things. Conley also scored a pair of runs and knocked in two. Adam Zebrowski had two hits and walked twice. Brandol Mezquita had three hits including a homer and a double. Braulio Vasquez went 2-for-5 and stole a base to join the list of Augusta players with multi-hit games.