Braves 2021 Farm Report: Drew Lugbauer has big night for Mississippi and Rome walks it off to lead series

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The Braves were rained out on Friday, but there was still four minor league games to check out, and even better, three of the four affiliates won last night. When you’re all caught up on Friday’s minor league action, be sure to check out the first installment of our Prospect Check-in series.

Here’s a look at the Braves farm from Friday…

 

AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (13-9)

W, 8-2 (6 inn.) vs. Memphis
  • SP, B. Wilson – (W), 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, HR
  • 2B, J. Kipnis – 2 for 3, HR, 3 RBI
  • SS, O. Arcia – 3 for 4, 2 2B, 2 RBI

BOX SCORE

The first two innings of Friday’s matchup between Gwinnett and Memphis were fairly quiet. Stripers starter Bryse Wilson was cruising through the Redbirds’ lineup, pitching around a walk in the 1st and a single in the 2nd. However, in the 3rd, the 23-year-old righty left a breaking ball hanging out over the plate… and the veteran Matt Szczur made Wilson pay with a deep homer over the left field wall (excuse my horrible spelling below lol).

That 2-0 lead by Memphis wouldn’t last long, though. Gwinnett came to bat in the bottom-half of the 3rd, and following a lead-off walk by Travis Snider, seven Stripers batters came to the plate to score four runs, including veteran second baseman Jason Kipnis, who pulled a line drive over the wall for a three-run homer to put Gwinnett up by one.

Immediately following Kipnis’ long ball, Orlando Arcia slapped a bases-empty double, and after an Alex Jackson strikeout, veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy knocked Arcia in with an RBI single to put the Stripers up 4-2. With the two-run lead, Wilson would work through two walks in the 4th by inducing a ground-ball double play, and then in the 5th he allowed a harmless double in between a pair of strikeouts. In Gwinnett’s half of the 5th, Arcia led off with his second hit of the night, a single to center, and was followed up by Jackson home run — his fourth in two days — as the Stripers took a commanding 6-2 lead.

The 6th featured more strong pitching by Wilson (who faced only four batters), and two more runs for Gwinnett, thanks to singles by Drew Waters and Kipnis, plus a two-run double by Arcia, who, for the third time this season, finished with three hits (his ninth multi-hit game). Unfortunately, the same rain that postponed several MLB games last night (including the Braves-Mets) ended the Stripers matchup after six.

 


AA – Mississippi Braves (10-12)

W, 10-6 vs. Montgomery
  • SP, O. Javier – (W), 5 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 6 K, HR
  • 1B, D. Lubauer – 3 for 4, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R
  • RF, T. Harris – 1 for 2, 3 R, 2 BB

BOX SCORE

This was a helluva matchup for Mississippi’s lineup last night as they faced 21-year-old righty Shane Baz, the Tampa Bay Rays seventh-ranked prospect, per FanGraphs. For the first three frames, Baz and M-Braves starter Odalvi Javier went head to head for most of the evening, with Javier’s only mistake being a 2nd-inning solo-homer. The two pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts just in those first three innings alone (and Baz ended up finishing with 10 punch outs altogether).

But Mississippi’s offense finally got going in the 4th as both Shea Langeliers and CJ Alexander singled before Trey Harris came to plate and slapped a groundball to center to score the team’s first run. Then, with Alexander on third and Harris on first, big first baseman Drew Lugbauer knocked in both with a huge home run to right-center to make it 4-1 M-Braves.

https://twitter.com/mbraves/status/1398449834902933512?s=20

Baz and Javier went back to battling it out on the mound in the 5th, and both were replaced in the 6th inning. But Lugbauer wasn’t done, and in the 7th he added another run for Mississippi when he knocked in Harris with a dribbler just past the second baseman. Three batters later, Jalen Miller would add the inning’s second run when he knocked in Lugbauer with a line drive single.

M-Braves reliever Troy Bacon continued his scoreless streak for the 2021 season in the 8th, working around two walks and a single. And in Mississippi’s half of the inning, Riley Unroe started things off with a triple. A wild pitch by the Biscuits allowed Unroe to score, and following a hit-by-pitch for Langeliers, a strikeout by Alexander and a walk by Harris, that damn Lugbauer guy was at it again with a sharp line drive to right to make it 8-1 M-Braves. Following Lugbauer’s fourth RBI of the game, Mississippi would score two more runs in the inning as Harris would cross home from a wild pitch and Jefrey Ramos would knock in Lugbauer with a sac-fly.

But as you see by the final score, Mississippi didn’t win 10-1. Nope. In fact, the M-Braves about gave this game away in the final inning. Sean McLaughlin entered to pitch the 9th for Mississippi and all hell broke loose as five consecutive Biscuits reached base, scoring five runs. McLaughlin was able to get the second out by striking out a batter, but he allowed yet another run before finally ending the game having nearly allowed an incredible comeback.

Last night was Lugbauer’s first three-hit game of the season, pushing his AVG up to .333 and OPS to .956 this year. The 24-year-old left-hitter has been hot of late, going 9 for 18 (.500 AVG) with three XBH and seven RBI in his last five games. Also, Unroe has been great for the M-Braves since his demotion, now also hitting .333 with an .845 OPS.

 


 

A+ – Rome Braves (12-10)

W, 4-3 (10 inn.) vs. Greenville
  • SP, B. Elder – 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
  • SS, B. Philip – 3 for 3, 2B, RBI, R
  • RP, I. Diaz – (W), 3 IP, BB, 8 K

BOX SCORE

After cruising through the first couple of innings, Rome starter Bryce Elder ran into a bit of trouble in the 3rd when Greenville led off with a double and Elder threw a wild pitch to allow the runner to move to third. The errant throw was costly too, as the very next batter singled to give the Drive a 1-0 lead. Greenville added another run in the 4th, this time hitting back-to-back doubles off Elder to begin the frame, but the R-Braves pitcher escaped any further damage by getting a strikeout and inducing a double play ball.

Down 2-0 in the 5th, Rome’s offense finally gave Elder some support. After Jesse Franklin was hit by a pitch and stole second base, Beau Philip came to the plate and popped up a sac-fly to right scoring Franklin to put the R-Braves on the board and down by one. Elder then worked his final inning in the 6th, and despite two wild pitches in that one frame, he got out of there without allowing any damage.

An RBI single by the Drive in the 7th meant Rome needed two runs to tie, and that’s exactly what they did in the 8th. Philip led off the frame with a single, followed by a fielder’s choice by Brett Langhorne. After two-straight strikeouts by the R-Braves, Cody Milligan came up big with a double to score Philip and put Rome within one. Greenville gave them the run as the Drives reliever tossed a wild pitch to allow Langhorne to score and tie things up at three apiece.

Neither offense could score in the 9th, so to extra-innings they went. At this point, Rome reliever Indigo Diaz had already worked the 8th and 9th and had four strikeouts, so the R-Braves let the 22-year-old righty remain in the game. It was certainly a good decision as Diaz proceeded to strike outĀ fourĀ batters in that 10th inning, the extra K coming because Diaz’s third punch out was dropped by catcher Rusber Estrada resulted in an errant throw. It ended up not mattering because Diaz struck out the next batter to end the frame anyways. Rome came to bat in the bottom-half of the 10th, and following a single by Philip, Langhorne drove a line drive single to center to walk it off for the R-Braves.

This was a pretty poor showing by Rome’s offense and even featured the conclusion of Michael Harris’ hitting streak which finally ends at nine (he finished 0 for 4 with two strikeouts). But my goodness this Indigo Diaz fellow is having a helluva start to the 2021 season. He picked up the win on Friday to improve to 4-0 this year, including a 0.73 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 12.1 innings so far.

 


A – Augusta GreenJackets (9-13)

L, 7-6 vs. Columbia
  • SP, D. Vines – IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, K
  • 3B, C. Bunnell – 2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI, SB
  • LF, B. Parker – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI

BOX SCORE

Augusta went with a bullpen game on Friday, but after two, found themselves down 4-0. However, the GreenJackets offense made up for it by scoring five runs in the 4th, thanks to a two-run homer from Brandon Parker and a three-run long ball by Cade Bunnell. Fast-forward all the way to the 9th inning, with Augusta trailing 7-5 after Columbia had scored three unanswered runs. The Jackets tried to mount the comeback as both Javier Valdes and Braulio Vasquez singled, Stephen Paolini walked and Parker knocked in a run with an RBI groundout. But Landon Stephens struck out swinging to end the game, stranding two runners in scoring position.

Five pitchers pitched for Augusta last night and all five allowed at least one run, with Kenny Wells getting tagged with the loss despite leading the way with four strikeouts. The quartet of Bunnell, Valdes, Vasquez and Paolini all finished with two hits on Friday, and prospect shortstop Vaughn Grissom was hitless in four tries. It appears outfielder Willie Carter had the night off.

 

As of Saturday morning, announced probable starters for today’s games are Mississippi’s A.J. Puckett (10.13 ERA) and Rome’s Mitch Stallings (5.40 ERA).

 

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