It was a split down on the Atlanta Braves system on Sunday, with the most entertaining game coming courtesy of a Mississippi Braves comeback victory. Gwinnett laid the lumber on Lehigh Valley in their win while the two lower level teams came up short in ninth inning comeback efforts.
(60-63) Gwinnett Stripers 13, (68-55) Lehigh Valley IronPigs 2
- Ryan Casteel, C: 2-4, 2 HR, BB, 5 RBI, .217/.309/.522
- Orlando Arcia, SS: 0-1, 2 BB, .400/.625/.600
- Rylan Bannon, 3B-2B: 3-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, .387/.512/.677
- Freddy Tarnok, SP: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2.45 ERA
- Victor Vodnik, RP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3.54 ERA
- Darius Vines, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.25 ERA
The Gwinnett offense put on a show Sunday afternoon and quickly left Lehigh Valley in the dust. Rylan Bannon has been on a heater for Gwinnett and started the scoring in the first inning by clobbering a two run home run. With the game still at 2-0 in the third inning the Stripers loaded the bases with no outs to bring up the middle of their order. After a Pat Valaika sacrifice fly extended the lead to three Ryan Casteel broke the game open with his 14th home run of the season. Gwinnett held at six runs until the eighth inning when the hits started rolling in with one out. Casteel walked to start the rally then four consecutive hits scored three runs to put Gwinnett up 6-2. Rylan Bannon capped off the scoring in the eighth with a two-out double to drive in two runs and give him 12 RBI in his past three games. Casteel’s second home run of the game accounted for the two runs scored in the ninth inning. While Casteel has primarily played the backup catcher role this season he has been one of Gwinnett’s top contributors and is now tied for the team lead with 15 home runs in only 53 games.
Freddy Tarnok’s Gwinnett career had been smooth sailing to this point, but for the first time his command really didn’t work for him and he couldn’t get out of the third inning. Tarnok was decent enough through two innings with no runs allowed and three strikeouts, but the pitches had already started to pile up. Tarnok allowed a two-run home run with one out in the inning then after striking out Johan Camargo issued consecutive walks necessitating his removal from the game. Victor Vodnik had the first relief outing for Gwinnett and was outstanding with the only runner against him in 1 1⁄3 innings coming on a bloop single. Darius Vines then took the bulk of the game’s innings with three scoreless and turned the ball over to the mop up crew in Gwinnett’s bullpen following the offense’s five-run eighth. Jesus Cruz and Michael Tonkin each threw scoreless innings to close the game and the Gwinnett bullpen combined for 6 1⁄3 innings with only two hits and no runs allowed.
Next Game: 8/30 vs (65-58) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp @ 7:05 PM ET
(56-63) Mississippi Braves 8, (53-67) Birmingham Barons 6
- Cade Bunnell, SS: 1-4, HR, BB, 4 RBI, .344/.465/.656
- Andrew Moritz, RF: 3-5, 2 2B, SB, .282/.365/.341
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, LF: 1-5, .284/.391/.463
- Roddery Munoz, SP: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 9.82 ERA
- Indigo Diaz, RP: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3.30 ERA
Mississippi trailed much of this game but put up a stunning late comeback to take the series finale in Birmingham. The Braves snuck out to a lead in the early parts of the game, led in the second inning by an RBI double from Riley Delgado to score Andrew Moritz. An inning later that lead grew as Javier Valdes cracked a triple to score two runs and make the score 3-0. After Birmingham turned to the bullpen the scoring slowed for the Braves and the Barons were able to put up some big innings and take a 5-3 lead. Mississippi was down to their final three outs in the top of the ninth but put on the tying run with a walk to Jalen Miller and single from Justyn-Henry Malloy. Drew Lugbauer struck out for the first out of the inning and Javier Valdes was hit by a pitch to load up the bases for Cade Bunnell. Bunnell crushed a go-ahead grand slam that ended up being the game-winner. Mississippi continued to add on with Logan Brown contributing an RBI single and the bullpen closed it out in the ninth.
Roddery Munoz came out guns blazing for Mississippi and retired the first ten batters of the game with four coming on strikeouts as the Braves took that early lead. The first two hits came on ground balls that found holes and Birmingham was able to chip a run out on a third base hit in the fourth inning, but Munoz held the lead with two more strikeouts to cap off the frame. The fifth inning was unfortunately unkind to Munoz who allowed three consecutive hits and a run before being pulled following a sacrifice bunt. AJ Puckett could not strand the two remaining runners in support of Munoz and after allowing two hits of his own saw three runs come in to score to put Birmingham up 5-3. After Puckett the Braves bullpen found some success with Odalvi Javier, Justin Yeager and Justin Maese each contributing scoreless innings. The Braves then stuck with Maese for the ninth inning to close out the game, but after he allowed a run and put the tying run on base Indigo Diaz was brought in to close the game. Diaz issued a walk to the first batter he faced to load the bases but closed out the game with a strikeout and a flyout.
Next Game: 8/30 vs (63-57)Tennessee Smokies @ 7:35 PM ET
(69-49) Rome Braves 4, (72-46) Bowling Green Hot Rods 7
- Drew Campbell, RF: 3-5, HR, .277/.345/.385
- Geraldo Quintero, 2B: 1-4, 2 RBI, .259/.388/.389
- Brandol Mezquita, CF: 1-3, RBI, .185/.258/.259
- Jose Montilla, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2.05 ERA
- Trey Riley, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4.18 ERA
It was a tough day for Rome as they fell behind early and never made much of a move to come back against Bowling Green. A sacrifice fly from Geraldo Quintero in the first inning gave Rome the lead, but it lasted just half an inning as the pitching staff and defense allowed two runs in the bottom of the first. Rome was down 7-1 before they scored again on a Drew Campbell leadoff home run in the sixth inning. Brandol Mezquita drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and the Braves managed a glimmer of hope with a ninth inning rally. With one out in the inning Nick Clarno and Jacob Pearson singled to get a rally started and Geraldo Quintero dropped in a two-out single to score Clarno. This brought Drew Campbell to the plate as the tying run in the game, but he grounded out to end the game.
It’s safe to say that Jose Montilla didn’t have his best game and it started early with two runs (one earned) in the first inning. The big hit off of Montilla was a two run home run in the third inning that put the Braves down 4-1. Malcolm Van Buren didn’t have much more in the way of success as he allowed two more runs in the fourth inning to really put the game away for the Hot Rods. A solo home run in the sixth inning off of Jake McSteen provided the final run for Bowling Green, though McSteen was otherwise good with five strikeouts and no walks over two innings. Benjamin Dum and Trey Riley each pitched scoreless innings of relief and Rome’s relief corp combined for 13 strikeouts over six innings.
Next Game: 8/30 vs (45-74) Greenville Drive @ 7:00 PM ET
(62-57) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (72-48) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7
- Ignacio Alvarez, 3B: 1-2, 2B, 3 BB, .333/.538/.556
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 4-5, 2B, RBI, .429/.487/.629
- David McCabe, DH: 1-4, 2 RBI, .273/.311/.364
- Cedric De Grandpre, SP: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 135.00 ERA
- Estarlin Rodriguez, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.21 ERA
Augusta never recovered following Myrtle Beach’s early onslaught of runs, but a few big performances highlighted the day and the week for the GreenJackets. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. and Nacho Alvarez were on fire all week for Augusta and they hooked up in the first inning to give the GreenJackets a short-lived lead. Kilpatrick’s single was the first blow of the inning and Alvarez followed that up by smacking a double off of the wall the opposite way to score Kilpatrick from first base. Kilpatrick had four hits on the day and was again instrumental in a scoring opportunity when he doubled in the third inning. Alvarez followed with the first of his three walks and David McCabe ripped an RBI single to score Kilpatrick. Justin Janas brought in Alvarez on a ground out but that was the last of the scoring for either side for quite awhile. Augusta’s final two runs came the old-fashioned way as they sat back and let the Pelicans hit and walk them into a rally. Kilpatrick had an RBI single to cut the deficit to 7-4 and Alvarez walked to load the bases with one out but it was not meant to be. McCabe brought in a run on a sacrifice fly and Janas walked to re-load the bases, but EJ Exposito flew out to end the game with the tying run on second base.
Cedric De Grandpre did not enjoy his full season debut and neither did anyone else as he simply had no clue where any of his pitches were going. Between two walks in the inning and three hits on balls left over the plate De Grandpre allowed five runs all earned. It wasn’t all negative as De Grandpre’s fastball showed a lot of life and his curveball flashed its potential when it froze a batter for a strikeout, but he couldn’t find his spots with either. William Silva didn’t do much better in relief and walked the first two batters he faced, but didn’t allow any runs of his own with the only guy coming home being charged to De Grandpre. Tyler Owens allowed two runs in his relief outing in the second inning, but the Augusta bullpen really straightened out after this and gave the offense a chance to make a comeback. Estarlin Rodriguez and Peyton Williams each pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Elison Joseph finished out the eighth inning.
Next Game: 8/30 vs (60-59) Salem Red Sox @ 7:05 PM ET