With the big league Braves off on Thursday, all eyes were on the minors. And for those of you that were able to catch the Stripers game last night, you weren’t disappointed. Mississippi also featured an exciting game, and though the M-Braves were dealt a blow from an injured player, one of the organization’s top-tier catching prospects at least provided somewhat of a bright spot.
Here’s a recap of last night’s Braves minor league action…
AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (12-9)
W, 14-2 vs. Memphis
- SP, K. Muller – (W), 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 8 K
- C, A. Jackson – 4 for 4, 3 HR, 7 RBI
- LF, A. Almonte – 3 for 5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Everything went Gwinnett’s way Thursday night as the offense broke out for 14 runs from 18 hits. It all started in the 2nd inning when 13 Stripers batters came to the plate, and beginning with a solo-homer from rehabbing catcher Alex Jackson, at one point seven-straight hitters reached base.
That 1-0 lead grew in a hurry as Yolmer Sanchez, Abraham Almonte, Orlando Arcia, Travis Demeritte, and — for the second time in one inning — Jackson came away with ribbies. And though he obviously had plenty of room to work with such a lead, lefty starter Kyle Muller didn’t really need it. Through just his first three frames, Muller tallied six strikeouts and his only blemish was a home run allowed in the 4th. Meanwhile, his battery-mate Jackson wasn’t done hitting bombs.
¡Ay, caramba! @memphisredbirds
Señor Jack is Back and strokes his 2nd homer of the night to extend our lead ever further.
The @Braves rehabbing catcher is now 3-3 on the night with 3 RBIs.
Xolos: 9 Redbirds: 1 pic.twitter.com/FgqNd40qpo
— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) May 28, 2021
Evidently feeling left out, Almonte added a homer in the 5th as part of a five-run inning.
And then… four batters later Jackson added his third dinger and seventh RBI of the evening.
Tanner Roark relieved Muller and worked the 6th, 7th and 8th innings, and save for a solo-homer, he was sharp with four strikeouts, no walks and two hits allowed. Victor Arano pitched a hitless 9th.
Surprisingly, Jackson’s trio of homers isn’t even the first time for a Gwinnett hitter this season as Arcia achieved the feat back on May 9. However, Jackson’s seven ribbies was just one shy of tying the Stripers’ all-time single-game record. The team’s eight-run 2nd inning is a Gwinnett record for most runs in a single frame. And don’t worry… Drew Waters just had the night off on Thursday.
AA – Mississippi Braves (9-12)
W, 7-6 vs. Montgomery
- SP, V. Vodnik – ⅓ IP, 2 BB
- C, S. Langeliers – 1 for 3, HR (GS), 4 RBI
- DH, D. Lugbauer – 2 for 3, 2B, RBI
Victor Vodnik was pulled after three batters, walked two of them. He topped out at 93 on the stadium gun.
— Matt Chrietzberg (@BravesMattC) May 27, 2021
The unfortunate story line from this one is that Thursday’s M-Braves starter Victor Vodnik was pulled from his outing after facing just three batters. All the facts weren’t known as of last night, but Chris Harris of MiLB.com did say Vodnik’s removal was due to an apparent injury. I’ll provide updates as they become available on Friday.
But other than that bit of disheartening news, Mississippi’s lineup had a great game last night, especially catcher Shea Langeliers, who gave the M-Braves a 4-1 lead in the 3rd when he belted a grand-slam for his fourth homer of the season.
Montgomery climbed all the way back with three runs to tie the game in the 4th, however, the M-Braves also played some strong D on Thursday. With the score still tied at four apiece, and Biscuits runners on first and second in the 5th, left fielder Jacob Pearson made a clutch play to end the inning (the tweet below is a bit misleading: Mississippi was not leading 5-4 at the time of Pearson’s catch, which came in the 5th… not the 6th).
The M-Braves wound up taking full advantage of Pearson’s diving play as — in the bottom-half of the frame — shortstop Braden Shewmake finally contributed at the plate with a sharply-hit ground-ball out to first to score Drew Lugbauer, putting Mississippi up by one.
Lugbauer added an RBI single in the 7th to go up 6-4, but Montgomery later tied it again in the 8th.
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) May 28, 2021
However, thanks to a walk by Langeliers, a double by CJ Alexander, and a single by Trey Harris, the M-Braves regained the lead in their half of the 8th inning when Riley Unroe drew a bases-loaded walk.
Reliever Daysbel Hernandez, having already gotten two outs in the previous frame, worked a quick 9th to preserve the one-run advantage and the win.
A+ – Rome Braves (11-10)
L, 9-2 vs. Greenville
- SP, A. Rangel – (L), 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 K
- CF, M. Harris – 2 for 4, RBI
- 3B, B. Langorne – 1 for 3, 2B, RBI
Rome was a mess last night as starter Alan Rangel threw two wild pitches and balked within the first three innings, to go with four errors altogether by the R-Braves defense. An RBI groundout in the 3rd by Michael Harris kept Rome at least in the game during the early innings, but after seven… Greenville comfortably led 8-1.
The Drive tacked on another run in the 9th, though back-to-back singles by Rome to lead off their half of the inning eventually led to a bases-loaded walk by Brett Langhorne to get within seven runs. But it just wasn’t a good night for the R-Braves, who, so far this season, has been a sharp team.
Other notable performers for Rome last night was second baseman and lead-off hitter Cody Milligan, who added a single, a walk and a run. Milligan is up to a .333 AVG and .788 OPS this season. Also, reliever Kasey Kalich allowed his first run of the season, after going 10 ⅔ scoreless innings to start the year.
A – Augusta GreenJackets (9-12)
L, 10-5 vs. Columbia
- SP, T. Owens – (L), 2 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HR
- LF, B. Parker – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
- 1B, B. Horne – 3 for 4, 2B
Augusta found themselves trailing 9-0 entering the 5th on Thursday as prospect starter Tyler Owens got rocked in this one.
The GreenJackets finally put together a pair of runs in the 5th when Brandon Parker slapped an RBI groundout and Braulio Vasquez scored on a wild pitch, but Columbia immediately countered with its 10th run in their half of the inning.
A fielder’s choice by Willie Carter scored a run in the 6th for Augusta to get them within seven, and then Parker homered in the 9th to get within five, but the Jackets couldn’t pull off the improbable comeback as Vaughn Grissom grounded out to end the game with runners on first and second.
One bright spot for Augusta last night was pitcher Roddery Munoz. Following Owens and Justin Yeagers nine runs allowed in the game’s first four innings, Munoz came on to finish the game and wound up striking out six with just a run allowed from two hits. The 21-year-old Munoz has been a little inconsistent at times this season, but he certainly has shutdown stuff.
As of Thursday night, probables for Friday include Gwinnett’s Bryse Wilson (3.27 ERA), Mississippi’s Odalvi Javier (1.74 ERA) and Rome’s Bryce Elder (3.66 ERA).