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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Mississippi pulls off a big comeback

AFL Babe Ruth hit a critical home run as part of Mississippi’s huge comeback win

Mesa Solar Sox v. Scottsdale Scorpions
Drew Lugbauer made the most of his one hit Friday night
Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We had one of the wildest nights of the year down in the Atlanta Braves farm system, with Mississippi playing an absurd game of baseball with the Tennessee Smokies. Elsewhere things were mostly in the realm of normality, as the affiliates took three wins home and Greyson Jenista hit a home run.

(51-58) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (66-42) Nashville Sounds 11

Box Score

  • Delino DeShields Jr., CF: 0-3, BB, .232/.384/.279
  • Hernan Perez, SS: 1-4, 2B, RBI, .243/.287/.354
  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-4, HR, .210/.284/.391
  • Silvino Bracho, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.16 ERA
  • Jacob Webb, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 6.75 ERA

Gwinnett is gonna start us off with a nasty one as they got ran off of the field after taking an early lead. The Stripers were able to take advantage of Sounds starter Dylan File who couldn’t settle into the game immediately and walked Delino DeShields Jr. on four pitches. Hernan Perez then delivered a two out double and DeShields was able to sprint home for a 1-0 lead. That lead became two early in the second inning when Greyson Jenista took the first pitch of the inning deep for a solo home run, but that was the last hit Gwinnett would record in the game

Gwinnett’s bullpen had a tall task to face to cover nine innings and they turned to Silvino Bracho to open up the game. Bracho struggled, and in the first inning loaded the bases on a leadoff double and a couple of two out walks. He managed to escape thanks to a couple of strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning. Bracho put himself in a rough situation again in the second inning without a leadoff double and again struck out two batter to put him in position to escape unharmed. Unfortunately he couldn’t close the door on this inning and a base hit scored the one run charged to Bracho.

Silvino Bracho gave the Stripers decent innings but the next two men up weren’t able to work around their problems and the game got ugly quickly. Thomas Burrows gave up the lead and took the loss in the game when he allowed three runs (two earned) in the third inning, then couldn’t escape the fourth as he allowed three more in the fourth. The game kept tumbling downhill with Roel Ramirez in the game when he allowed four runs over 2 13 innings. Jacob Webb and Dawson Dimon each pitched a scoreless inning in mop up duty to keep the arm casualties to a minimum going into the weekend.

Next Game: 8/13 @ (66-42) Nashville Sounds @ 8:05 PM ET

(49-57) Mississippi Braves 16, (57-49) Tennessee Smokies 14

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, CF: 2-5, BB, 2 RBI, .271/.345/.307
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-5, HR, BB, 3 RBI, .217/.332/.457
  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, LF: 2-2, 2 2B, 4 BB, 2 RBI, .289/.402/.444
  • Roddery Munoz, SP: 1 IP, 4 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 63.00 ERA
  • Justin Yeager, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.99 ERA

While I typically divide pitching and hitting, for this particular game we’re going to just go chronologically because this was an absurd show of baseball and it’s much more fun to follow this way. Mississippi got themselves out to an early lead and it was thanks to the first step in Justyn-Henry Malloy’s big day at the plate. He cracked an RBI double in the top of the first to put them on top, but that lead wouldn’t last much longer than Braves starter Roddery Munoz. He allowed a solo home run in the bottom of the first to tie the game, but the Braves bats had his back. Two walks kicked off the second inning and a wild pitch set up Cody Milligan for a two run single that Mississippi back on top. After this fairly normal start to a baseball game disaster struck as Munoz did not record an out in the second of his innings. Munoz allowed a leadoff walk, then an error from him on a pickoff and an error by the catcher Javier Valdes trying to catch a throw home on a ground out led to another run. A base hit snuck through the right side to put two runners on and then Munoz couldn’t find the zone as he walked two straight batters to force home a run. This cartoon inning kept going with another error to bring home a run and give Tennessee their first lead and then a single that dumped in for the fourth run of the inning. Munoz still had a chance to salvage this game, but a grand slam ended his day and gave the Smokies a commanding 9-3 lead.

Perhaps with AJ Puckett now in the game the Braves hoped they would be able to keep the game reasonably close, but that was not to be. Puckett allowed two hits and a walk to the first three batters he faced, meaning the first 11 batters of the inning had gotten on base without a single out being recorded. Finally sanity returned and the next three guys made outs, but two more runs scored to give Tennessee a ten run inning. They tacked on a 12th run on a double in the third inning and this game felt over as Mississippi was staring down a 12-3 deficit. Chaos was here to rule the day and the Braves bats had a little something to say about this. Landon Stephens led off in the fourth inning with his second Double-A home run and when Andrew Moritz and Jalen Miller reached base behind him the starter for Tennesse was chased with no outs in the fourth inning. The reliever the Smokies brought in recorded two quick outs, but a walk to Justyn-Henry Malloy loaded the bases and set off a two-out rally. Cade Bunnell followed Malloy with a single to score Moritz and Miller, then Javier Valdes knocked one through to score Malloy and get this game back within striking distance. Drew Lugbauer is the one player in this lineup you can’t afford to make a mistake to, and he punished a grooved first pitch fastball for a three run home run that put Mississippi back into the game now down 12-10. Jasseel De La Cruz followed with a shut down relief inning to get the Braves right back to the plate to add on more runs.

Add on the Braves did, with Moritz once again getting a rally started with a base hit. Cody Milligan and Justyn-Henry Malloy drew walks to load the bases with two outs, and Cade Bunnell drew a walk to force home a run and get Mississippi back to just one run behind. The unthinkable followed, with Javier Valdes crushing a two run double down the line to score Milligan and Malloy and complete a nine-run comeback for the Mississippi Braves in just two innings. I’ll give you a guess how long this led lasted. Yeah, the second batter Indigo Diaz faced in the bottom of the fifth inning went yard and the game was all tied up 13-13 after five innings.

So somehow through all of, uh, that we had an entire new ballgame for the final four innings. Perhaps the most shocking inning of all, the sixth, saw the two sides trade scoreless innings and leave the game in the hands of the final third of innings. Mississippi had another huge opportunity in the seventh inning when Milligan led off with a single and Malloy and Riley Delgado walked and got hit by a pitch, respectively, to load the bases. Cade Bunnell was right there again for Mississippi and gave them a lead with an RBI single, but the way this game was going it didn’t feel like ti would be enough. Well, it would have to be, as the next three batters struck out to end the inning. Mississippi still had more left in the tank however as they added on two runs in the eighth inning including an RBI double from Malloy. Malloy reached base in all six of his plate appearances, drawing four walks and bookending that with two doubles.

Runs are nice, but the bullpen is nicer and they really stepped up down the stretch. Justin Yeager kept a lid on the seventh and eighth innings, recording four strikeouts over two scoreless frames to shut down the Smokies after Mississippi scored those runs. The Braves turned to Jake Higginbotham to close out the game and he got two quick outs, but we know now the game is truly never over and it got a little too tight for comfort. Higginbotham walked the next batter and then allowed an RBI double which brought the tying run to the plate. Fortunately this very normal game ended with no drama as the next batter chopped one back to Higginbotham for a game-sealing 1 to 3 putout.

Next Game: 8/13 @ (57-49) Tennessee Smokies @ 7:15 PM ET

(63-43) Rome Braves 9, (46-57) Asheville Tourists 5

Box Score

  • Tyler Tolve, C: 2-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, .258/.332/.463
  • Cal Conley, 2B: 2-5, 2 RBI, .301/.360/.524
  • Willie Carter, RF: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, .229/.307/.389
  • JJ Niekro, SP: 6.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5.60 ERA
  • Trey Riley, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4.28 ERA

Alright refresh your browsers and let’s return to normal baseball for a minute. All was correct in the world in this Rome vs Asheville game as the Braves affiliate took their rightful place in beating up an Astros affiliate. Tyler Tolve got the offense off to a great start with an RBI double in the first inning, but Asheville starter Ryan Gusto did a real solid job for four innings and retired the next 11 Braves in order. Gusto did not feel so nice in the fifth inning, however, when Willie Carter broke up his streak with a solo home run to tie the game. This broke the seal for Rome as the next two batters reached base to set up a two-run double from Cal Conley to take the lead. Tolve followed with a two-run home run and the Braves had jumped out to a 6-2 lead halfway through this game. They were not done either, as Carter had an RBI single in the sixth inning and Caleb Durbin scored him with an RBI double to extend the Rome lead to six runs. Victor De Hoyos netted the Braves their final run, a nice bit of insurance in the eighth inning after the Tourists had cut the Rome lead down to three.

JJ Niekro had an interesting start to say the least. It got off to an inauspicious start with a two-run first inning, and he had to pitch most of his outing with that deficit in hand. He managed to pitch the next five innings without allowing another run, but it was never clean and he relied a lot on defense to get the job done. The Rome defense turned four double plays behind Niekro and he picked off another runner which helped erase five of the 12 baserunners he allowed over his 6 13 innings. With his pitch count low and a big lead they tried to give him a run at the seventh inning but it didn’t go so well. A leadoff error set off a bad streak and he recorded one out while allowing three hits and three runs before being pulled from the game. Miguel Pena was able to shut the inning down in relief and protect the 8-5 lead the Braves then held. Pena also pitched a scoreless eighth and turned the ball over to Trey Riley to close it out. It wasn’t exactly smooth as Riley got hurt by a couple of weak hits, but he shut the door and struck out two batters to give Rome a win.

Next Game: 8/13 @ (46-57) Asheville Tourists @ 6:05 PM ET

(55-49) Augusta GreenJackets 7, (58-47) Fredericksburg Nationals 4

Box Score

  • Kadon Morton, CF: 2-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .235/.335/.361
  • David McCabe, 3B: 2-4, BB, RBI, .273/.308/.364
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, .239/.372/.437
  • Samuel Strickland, SP: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.14 ERA
  • Tyler Owens, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.56 ERA

Augusta kept their strong play of late going with a close win over the Nationals. The offense was set alight in the third inning thanks to Kadon Morton, whose seventh home run of the season gave Augusta a 2-0 lead. The fourth inning went to the draftees, with David McCabe leading off the inning and Keshawn Ogans driving in the game’s third run on a base hit. He and EJ Exposito then pulled off a double steal to score Exposito and push the lead to 4-0. A fifth inning single from McCabe scored Drake Baldwin and Augusta held a commanding 5-0 lead. Or so we thought, until Fredericksburg put up four runs in the fifth inning and made the game close with four innings left to play. Neither side had much luck figuring out the other bullpen and the score stayed 5-4 until Adam Zebrowski’s tenth home run of the season plated two runs to give Augusta a 7-4 lead.

Samuel Strickland has been Augusta’s best player of late, and for the first few innings of this game he seemed to be keeping up that stretch of play. Strickland allowed only two hits through four scoreless innings and saw his offense give him a five run cushion to work with. That came to an abrupt halt in the fifth inning when he allowed four runs on five hits before he was able to escape the inning. The Augusta bullpen was phenomenal in holding on to this lead, with James Acuna giving them a scoreless sixth inning. Rob Griswold covered 1 23 innings with no runs allowed and Tyler Owens notched his fourth save as he went the final 1 13 .

Next Game: 8/13 @ (58-47) Fredericksburg Nationals @ 6:05 PM ET

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