Tuesday might have been Opening Day for Minor League Baseball, but it was Wednesday that actually featured games by all four Braves minor league affiliates as the weather finally cooperated.
Here are the recaps from yesterday’s games…
AAA — Gwinnett Stripers (1-1)
L, 9-6 vs. Charlotte Knights
- SP, K. Wright: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
- 1B, J. Camargo: 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
- CF, D. Waters: 2 for 4, K
Gwinnett participated in another high-scoring affair on Wednesday as both the Stripers and Knights combined for 15 runs and 24 hits.
Charlotte carried a 4-0 lead through three innings before Gwinnett’s shortstop Orlando Arcia hit a home run in the 4th to put the Stripers on the board. Gwinnett fought hard to come back in this one, scoring two runs in the 8th — all from a two-run single by outfielder Abraham Almonte — to make it a 6-3 ballgame. However, the Knights added three more in their half of the inning to keep the game out of reach. In the 9th, with the Stripers down by six, first baseman Johan Camargo ripped a three-run homer to right to make the final score look a bit better.
Righty starter Kyle Wright managed a pretty strong 1st inning in his start for Gwinnett on Wednesday… and that was about it. After pitching around a walk and striking out one in the opening frame, Wright faced a combined 13 batters in the 2nd and 3rd innings before finally going three-up-and-three-down in the 4th. He allowed back-to-back singles in the 5th and final inning but bounced back nicely to get the next three opposing batters out in order. Overall, the 25-year-old Wright needed 84 pitches (56 strikes) to get through his five innings of work yesterday. And though his eight strikeouts are nice, he’ll need to cut down on the base runners next time out. Regardless, it was a decent first start of the season.
Both Jasseel De La Cruz and big-league reliever Chris Martin got some work out of the Stripers bullpen in this one. Cruz got two outs in the 7th, allowing a run from two hits, and Martin got Gwinnett two outs in the 8th, surrendering two runs from two hits. Overall, the Stripers bullpen sent out five relievers and allowed five runs in three innings to go with four strikeouts and no walks.
AA — Mississippi Braves (0-1)
L, 2-1 vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos
- SP, H. Deal: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 2 K
- RF, T. Harris: 1 for 4, K
- RP, M. Withrow: 2 IP, 2 BB, 5 K
After getting rained out on Tuesday, Mississippi finally opened its 2021 season on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the M-Braves ran into a dominant pitching performance from Pensacola’s starter, righty Max Meyer — the Marlins top prospect. Meyer tossed a one-hitter through five innings on Wednesday, striking out five and walking one for the win. The Braves’ five hits came from leadoff hitter Justin Dean, right fielder Terone Harris, third baseman CJ Alexander, left fielder Jefrey Ramos, and second baseman Jalen Miller. Miller’s home run in the 6th inning was Mississippi’s only XBH on the day.
He grew up a Braves fan and parents had season tickets at Turner Field.
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) May 6, 2021
Prospect Braden Shewmake went hitless in four tries on Wednesday, but he did flash some solid leather at shortstop.
— Trey Mongrue (@TreyMongrue) May 6, 2021
Southpaw starter Hayden Deal took the loss for the M-Braves in this one, though he pitched well enough to get the win, despite dealing with a lot of base runners through the first half of his outing. Deal threw 64 pitches on Wednesday and effectively kept the ball on the dirt as he generated eight groundouts. Reliever Troy Bacon picked up the 6th inning for Mississippi and allowed one hit with one strikeout before Matt Withrow came on in the 7th and worked two solid frames.
A+ — Rome Braves (2-0)
W, 8-7 vs. Winston-Salem Dash
- SP, T. Gordon: 2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR
- 1B, B. Ball: 1 for 3, HR, RBI, 2 BB
- C, L. Brown: 2 for 3, HR, 2B, 4 RBI
This one was a wild one. Rome’s Riley Delgado scored in the opening inning thanks to a wild pitch, and in the 2nd, Cody Milligan slapped an RBI single to center to give the R-Braves an early two-run lead. However, following a pair of home runs by Winston-Salem in their half of the 2nd, and a bases-loaded walk by Rome reliever Lisandro Santos in the 3rd, the Braves quickly found themselves down 6-2 after just three innings.
But Rome mounted themselves an impressive comeback on Wednesday. In the 5th, first baseman Bryce Ball homered to cut the lead to three. Then, an inning later, Michael Harris slapped an RBI single to get the Braves within two, before hot-hitting catcher Logan Brown belted a grand-slam to push the Braves ahead by a score of 8-6 through five; by the way, that’s now five RBI for Brown in his first two games this season.
Rome’s starter, Tanner Gordon, worked through Winston-Salem’s first four batters in the 1st inning, pitching around a pair of walks and striking out two. However, in the 2nd, everything unraveled as a single, two homers, and a fielding error forced him to face eight batters — pushing his pitch-count up to 50 after just two frames. Four of Rome’s relievers came in and pitched the final seven innings, with A.J. Puckett picking up the win after 3 ⅓ of four-hit ball to go with one run allowed, three walks, and three strikeouts. Zach Daniels got the five-out save for the Braves, striking out two on no runs and no hits.
A — Augusta GreenJackets (1-0)
W, 8-1 vs. Columbia Fireflies
- SP, A. Barger: 4 IP, H, ER, 4 BB, 5 K
- DH, L. Stephens: 3 for 4, 2 2B, RBI
- 2B, C. Bunnell: 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
Augusta opened its 2021 season on Wednesday with a hot-hitting lineup. The GreenJackets scored two runs in the 2nd inning, with one coming from a passed ball and the other an RBI double by catcher Ricardo Rodriguez. Augusta struck again in the 3rd, this time with an RBI double by Landon Stephens, followed by a two-run single by Bryson Horne. Cade Bunnell and Drew Campbell poured it on the 6th as Bunnell slugged a two-run home run, and Campbell knocked in a run with a triple. Augusta looks like a solid Single-A offense as all but two batters in the lineup recorded a hit yesterday.
The GreenJackets pitchers were just as hot as the bats in this one as starter Alec Barger tossed four innings of one-hit ball that featured 70 pitches. And once Barger’s day was done, Augusta’s bullpen held Columbia’s offense hitless over the next five frames while striking out eight more. Reliever Brent Burgress — one of two relievers in this game — pitched innings five thru seven on Wednesday, earning the win as he walked one and struck out four.
Thursday’s MiLB slate
AAA — Gwinnett @ Charlotte
(7:04 PM) SP, Bryse Wilson
AA — Pensacola @ Mississippi
GM 1: (6:35 PM), SP, Nolan Kingham
GM 2: (after GM 1) SP, Mitch Stallings
A+ — Rome @ Winston-Salem
(7:00 PM) SP, Ricky DeVito
A — Columbia @ Augusta
GM 1: (5:05 PM) TBA
GM 2: (after GM 1) TBA