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Braves Minor League Recap: Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas shut opposition down

Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas combined for 15 strikeouts in 12 shutout innings on Thursday.

Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Freddy Tarnok
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Thursday saw a rainout and a split of four games down on the farm, but the big story of the night was a pair of pitching prospects each went six shutout innings. Both Freddy Tarnok and Royber Salinas turned in great outings on the mound, while Vaughn Grissom and Brandol Mezquita were among the standouts at the plate.

Gwinnett Stripers vs Charlotte Knights PPD

Gwinnett and Charlotte got rained out and the game will be made up today as part of a double header.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos 3, Mississippi Braves 1 - Game 1

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, RF: 2-3, R, RBI, HR, .787 OPS
  • Hendrik Clementina, C: 1-2, .724 OPS
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 4.31 ERA

This half of the day for Mississippi was a two man show and not much else unfortunately. Freddy Tarnok was absolutely dominant over six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and a pair of walks to go along with six strikeouts. This continues a recent trend for Tarnok, who has 31 strikeouts over his last four starts, while allowing just four runs. Tarnok may have started the season slow, but he’s really picked it up over the last month and should place high on the upcoming midseason edition of the Braves Top 30 prospect list.

Offensively it was all Justin Dean. Dean who had two hits, includuing his first homer of the season. Like Tarnok, Dean has really picked things up after a slow start to the season. The rest of the lineup didn’t really show up, as a Hendrik Clementina single was the only other time a Brave reached base.

Mississippi Braves 3, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2 - Game 2

Box Score

  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 0-0, 3 BB, R, .826 OPS
  • Cade Bunnell, 1B: 1-3, R, 1.051 OPS
  • Yariel Gonzalez, PH: 1-1, RBI, .680 OPS

The strong pitching continued into this game for the Braves, despite it being a bullpen game. Troy Bacon went the first two innings and gave up a run, although things could have been much worse as he got into some trouble allowing two hits and three walks. It was a similar story for AJ Puckett, who allowed just one unearned run over two innings despite a pair of hits and a pair of walks. The next three guys shut the door, combining to allow a hit and two walks over the final three innings. Indigo Diaz, Justin Yeager, and Tyler Ferguson went on to finish this one off.

Offensively it wasn’t pretty but the Braves did just enough to get the win. The team managed just three hits, all singles, and three walks, but managed to score three runs on that. Drew Lugbauer was the standout as he walked three times and scored a run. Pinch hitter Yariel Gonzalez had the game winning single in the bottom of the seventh, while Cade Bunnell and Riley Delgado accounted for the other Braves hits.

Rome Braves 6, Asheville Tourists 0

Box Score

  • Drew Campbell, CF: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, .687 OPS
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, .883 OPS
  • Royber Salinas, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 4.30 ERA

Freddy Tarnok wasn’t the only Braves pitching prospect to go six shutout innings on Thursday, as Royber Salinas went six of his own. Salinas allowed just two hits, two walks and struck out nine. Jose Montilla, Isrrael De La Cruz, and Austin Smith each went a scoreless inning out of the pen as the four Rome pitchers combined for the shutout. Overall the team allowed just four hits and five walks while striking out 13 Asheville hitters.

The offense had a solid night led by the top two hitters in the lineup. Out of the leadoff spot Drew Campbell went 2-5 with a double and picked up a pair of RBI while scoring a run of his own. Out of the two-hole Vaughn Grissom went 1-3 with a walk, double, and a pair of RBI. Christian Robinson and Javier Valdes each added 2-4 games that included a double and scored a run, while Robinson picked up an RBI.

Charleston RiverDogs 8, Augusta GreenJackets 4

Box Score

  • Brandol Mezquita, CF: 2-3, 2 BB, SB, .782 OPS
  • Cal Conley, SS: 3-5, 3B, R, 2 RBI, .731 OPS
  • AJ Smith-Shawver, SP: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 5.08 ERA

AJ Smith-Shawver got the start and didn’t have his best command. Still he gutted his way through 4 2/3 innings allowing one hit, four walks and four runs to go along with six strikeouts. While it wasn’t a good outing for Smith-Shawver, there are positives in that he only gave up the one hit and still struck out more than a batter per inning without great command. James Acuna followed and gave up three runs in the two innings he worked.

The story of this game for Augusta is missed opportunity. The GreenJackets had 13 hits plus four walks, but only managed to plate four runs as the team stranded 11 runners and went just 4-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Cal Conley led the way with three hits, including a triple. Brandol Mezquita reached base four times. We also saw multi-hit games from Braulio Vasquez (3-4, 2B), Stephen Paolini (2-5), and Eliezel Stevens (2-4).

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