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Braves MiLB recap: JJ Niekro, Vaughn Grissom keep rolling, system split on Tuesday

JJ Niekro pitched a gem for Augusta as the Atlanta Braves minor-league teams won two and lost two on Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images

The young Atlanta Braves went 2-2 on Tuesday, with Augusta and Mississippi winning their respective ballgames. JJ Niekro extended his dominant streak, Vaughn Grissom had a pair of hits, and the Rome bats continue to rake, even in a losing effort.

Here’s how it went down on the Atlanta Braves farm Tuesday night.

Gwinnett Stripers (33-4) 1, Nashville Sound (40-26) 4

Box score

  • Travis Demeritte, LF: 0-for-2, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Alex Dickerson, RF: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 8 K

It was a workhorse start from Bryce Elder that we’ve come to know. He went deep into the game, was able to strike people out, but was unfortunately a bit too hittable as the Sounds got to him for four runs. Victor Vodnik tossed a scoreless eighth to close it out.

As you can tell from the scoreboard, there wasn’t much going on at the plate. Alex Dickerson drove in Preston Tucker in the top of the ninth to salvage the lone run for the Stripers on his second double of the day. Tucker Davidson is scheduled to get the ball on Wednesday.

Mississippi Braves (28-36) 5, Montgomery Biscuits (24-33) 3

Box score

  • Justin Dean, RF: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • Cody Milligan, CF: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Tanner Gordon wasn’t perfection on Tuesday, but pitched well enough to give the M-Braves a chance. He was efficient, landing an impressive 60 of 79 pitches for strikes in five solid innings before handing it over to AJ Puckett, Odalvi Javier and Jake Higginbotham who combined for four shutout innings and seven strikeouts. It was Higginbotham’s first save of the season.

At the plate, Cody Milligan made his Double-A debut and recorded a hit, scored a run, and swiped a bag. Justin Dean recorded his fourth double of the season and now has at least a hit in six of his last seven games. Drew Lugbauer did damage, blasting his 15th home run in the M-Braves three-run second inning. Jared Shuster is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.

Rome Braves (35-29) 6, Hickory Crawdads (37-27) 12

Box score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-for-5
  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • Roddery Munoz, SP: 0.2, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K

If there’s anything we’ve learned of late, it’s you won’t be deprived of offense at Rome Braves games. Rome needed to come out strong against a Hickory team right above it in the standings, and it was the complete opposite. Roddery Munoz simply didn’t have it Tuesday night, allowing a leadoff home run and then loading the bases, getting lifted before the first inning even ended. Unfortunately, Isrrael De La Cruz struggled mightily and the R-Braves were chasing 11 runs by the third inning.

As always, this offense made a game out of it, scoring three in the fifth, one in the seventh, and two more in the eighth. Jacob Pearson, Javier Valdes and Cade Bunnell slugged home runs for the Braves and Valdes had a three-hit, three-RBI performance. Vaughn Grissom continued his torrid June with his sixth multi-hit game in his last seven outings.

Augusta GreenJackets (35-29) 2, Fayetteville Woodpeckers (30-33) 1

Box score

  • Geraldo Quintero, 3B: 1-for-3, 1 BB
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • JJ Niekro, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K

JJ Niekro is blossoming into quite the intriguing pitching prospect. He is doing some serious work in June since moving into the starting rotation and after his six scoreless on Tuesday has now tossed 22.2-straight innings of shutout baseball. He works very quickly which helps keep batters on edge, sits low 90s with his fastball, and has nice off-speed stuff that he isn’t afraid to throw anywhere in the count. He is certainly one to watch on this streak. Darling Florentino allowed a run in the seventh, but Ronaldo Alesandro tossed two scoreless for his first save of the season.

The offense came early for the GreenJackets and it stuck. Adam Zebrowski drove in the first run on his ninth double of the year and Caleb Durbin got another across in the second inning on a force out. Brandol Mezquita had the rare 0-fer and Kadon Morton had the only two-hit night for both teams.