Thursday was a rough one for the organization as the big league Braves were swept by the Blue Jays for the second time this season, and the farm system only managed one win from five games. However, the beauty of baseball is that everyday is another opportunity to turn things around.
We have a lot to get to, so here’s a recap of yesterday’s minor league action…
AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (6-3)
L, 8-7 Louisville
- SP, C. Johnstone – 4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 2 HR
- 1B, S. Kazmar – 3 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
- RF, T. Demeritte – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI
For some reason, Gwinnett’s Twitter feed wasn’t very active last night so I don’t have any video from Thursday’s action, although this was a back-and-forth game between the Stripers and the Bats that nearly featured a 9th-inning comeback by Gwinnett.
After Louisville scored three runs in the 1st from a double and a home run, Gwinnett answered with a pair of runs in the 2nd when journeyman Sean Kazmar belted a two-run home run to left, the veteran’s first big fly of the season. The Stripers would tie things up the very next frame, rallying with two outs as Orlando Arcia singled to right and Travis Demeritte followed up in the very next AB with an RBI double to center, making it 3-3 after three innings. The tie would only last a few minutes, though, because Louisville would score four runs combined in the 4th and 5th innings, taking a 7-3 lead entering the second-half of the game.
Facing a new pitcher in the 6th, Gwinnett’s Abraham Almonte led off the inning with a walk, then later stole second base. Another walk, this time by Kazmar, put runners on first and second with just one out… and catcher Carlos Martinez would come through with an RBI single to put the Stripers within three. Next, Phillip Ervin came to the plate to pinch-hit, and he delivered as well, also singling to center and scoring Kazmar from second, cutting Louisville’s lead to just 7-5 through six.
Both teams scored a run apiece in the 7th, with Gwinnett’s offense coming from an RBI double by Martinez, giving the Stripers a chance to come back in the final innings, down 8-6. But unfortunately Gwinnett could only manage one run in the 9th (with Demeritte scoring on a wild pitch), despite sending six batters to the plate.
Demeritte’s three hits last night pushed him up to a .370 AVG and 1.378 OPS so far this season — both marks are tops in the lineup among Gwinnett’s regulars. Drew Waters finished 1 for 5 with three strikeouts on Thursday, and his AVG/OPS fell to .214 / .552 for the season.
Final: Louisville – 8. Gwinnett- 7.
Apologies for lack of updates. Those $2 beers for Thirsty Thursday went hard. Join us next time.
— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) May 14, 2021
As you can see from all the offense by both teams during the first several innings of yesterday’s game, the Stripers starter, Conner Johnstone, got hit around pretty good in this one. However, despite the two homers and five runs allowed overall on Thursday, Johnstone’s ERA is still a solid 3.75 through two starts this season.
Jesse Chavez, Daysbel Hernandez, Edgar Santana and recently-signed reliever Jay Flaa worked the last four innings, with the latter two recording scoreless appearances.
AA – Mississippi Braves (3-5)
L, 7-5 vs. Biloxi
- SP, H. Deal – 3 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
- SS, B. Shewmake – 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI
- 1B, G. Jenista – 1 for 3, 3B, RBI
Mississippi got things going quickly in the 1st on Thursday. Batting second, shortstop Braden Shewmake drew a one-out walk before, and two batters later, Greyson Jenista knocked him in with an RBI triple to take a 1-0 lead.
.@greysonjenista picking up right where he left off last night.
His RBI triple puts the M-Braves up 1-0 in the 1st inning! pic.twitter.com/NTydlBIN2J
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) May 13, 2021
Biloxi would counter with two runs of their own in the bottom-half of the inning, as well as two more runs in the 2nd, but Shewmake and the M-Braves offense weren’t done. With Justin Dean on first in the 3rd inning, Shewmake took out his frustrations on a 0-1 fastball and drove it over the wall for his first Double-A home run, putting Mississippi within one run…
The M-Braves SS is having a quite a night! 😎 That's his first long ball of 2021.
End 3 | Biloxi 4, M-Braves 3 pic.twitter.com/wEnnJVInhP
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) May 14, 2021
Nothing for the Shuckers in their half of the 3rd led to a Mississippi 5-4 lead in the 4th when back-up catcher Hendrik Clementia hit a two-run bomb…
BACK ON TOP!
Hendrik Clementina's towering homer gives the M-Braves back the lead at 5-4 in the 4th! pic.twitter.com/wtzdjUZrsY
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) May 14, 2021
That lead for the M-Braves didn’t last long, though. A homer in the 5th by Biloxi tied it at five, and unfortunately Mississippi’s bats went quiet for the rest of the game. The Shuckers added on with two more runs in the 7th, leading to the win.
The big takeaway here, though, is that Shewmake finally had himself a strong performance in Double-A as he finished Thursday with a 1 for 3 line at the plate, two RBI, two runs, a walk and a strikeout. Shewmake is now hitting .120 on the year.
Oh, and Shewmake also flashed some leather at shortstop yesterday, making a nice play in the 2nd…
It was a short outing for Hayden Deal on Thursday as the righty only totaled 69 pitches (39 strikes). The 26-year-old just didn’t have it, and he dealt with pressure from Biloxi base runners throughout the entire start, especially in the 1st inning when seven Shuckers batters came to the plate.
Matt Hartman, Will Latcham and Luis Mora pieced together the final 4 ⅔ frames, with Latchman taking the loss after he allowed one of Biloxi’s two two-run homers.
A+ – Rome Braves (6-3)
GM 1: L, 7-3 vs. Greensboro
GM 2: W, 4-1 vs. Greensboro
GAME 1 / BOX SCORE
- SP, R. DeVito – (L), 4 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 4 K, HR
- 2B, C. Milligan – 2 for 3, HR, RBI
- LF, G. Schwartz – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
Greensboro jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 1st, but both offenses wound up scuffling during the next three innings. Rome finally got on the board in the 5th when Cody Milligan led off the frame with a solo-homer to left, but a walk by Kevin Josephina was the only other base runner the R-Braves could manage during the inning.
The Grasshoppers scored two more runs in their half of the 5th to make it 3-1 Greensboro, but it was in the 6th that the Grasshoppers put the game out of reach as they scored four runs despite there being two outs. Rome attempted the comeback in the 7th and final frame, thanks to a lead-off single by Milligan and a two-run homer by Garrison Schwartz, but two runs wasn’t enough, as they dropped Game 1 of the doubleheader.
It’s a shame, Ricky DeVito‘s only mistake on Thursday was a solo-homer and a measly fielder’s choice in the 1st inning. Otherwise, the righty was solid, facing only one more than the minimum in his next three innings of work. Davis Schwab, Marrick Crouse and Zach Daniels pitched the final two frames and combined for five runs allowed (one earned) and four strikeouts.
GAME 2 / BOX SCORE
- SP, T. Lawson- 2 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K
- DH, M. Harris – 1 for 3, HR, RBI
- 1B, B. Ball – 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI
Following Greensboro’s one run in the 1st, both teams traded zeroes until Rome finally countered with a run in the 4th — a solo-homer off the bat of Michael Harris, his first this season. The R-Braves put the game out of reach in the 6th when Bryce Ball and Logan Brown belted back-to-back homers, giving Rome a nice win in Game 2.
The trio of Harris, Ball and Brown have combined to hit a solid .282 so far this season as they continue to lead this Rome offense.
Tanner Lawson started this one, but it was Coleman Huntley that earned the victory — his third this season — as he tossed three no-hit innings and struck out five after relieving Lawson in the 3rd. Gabriel Noguera and Indigo Diaz pitched the final two frames, combining for three strikeouts and no hits allowed.
A – Augusta GreenJackets (3-5)
L, 4-3 vs. Myrtle Beach
- SP, D. Vines – 5 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 K
- C, J. Valdes – 1 for 3, 2B, RBI
- 3B, V. Grissom – 1 for 3, R
Thursday’s game between Augusta and Myrtle Beach was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings. As both club’s pitchers combined to allow just four hits and no runs, to go with 15 strikeouts. However, the Pelicans finally broke through in the 6th with a solo-homer to open up the scoring…
Don't let him get hot!
Edmond Americaan went deep for the second time this season, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead in the 6th.@EdmondAmericaan | @VinesPlumbingSC pic.twitter.com/rIlXwvifTi
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) May 14, 2021
And Myrtle Beach could’ve tacked on another run in the 6th if it wasn’t for Augusta’s center fielder, Stephen Paolini, who made an incredible catch on a line-drive to center…
how @paolini_stephen pic.twitter.com/WuLQcQtbCR
— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) May 14, 2021
Neither team made any noise in the 7th inning, but with the GreenJackets trailing 1-0 in the 8th, the Pelicans walked in an run. Then, Willie Carter (single) and Javier Valdes (sac-fly) both notched an RBI to make it 3-1 GreenJackets. Although, unfortunately, Myrtle Beach played small ball in their half of the 8th and pushed across three runs to pick up the win.
AFTER 2 | Darius showing off the glove!
Jackets 0, Pelicans 0 pic.twitter.com/aGqbXQiyUQ
— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) May 13, 2021
Augusta’s starter yesterday, Darius Vines, had it all working in this one, including some strong defense on the mound. Vines needed just 57 pitches to get through his five-inning start as the 1st was the only frame in which he faced more than the minimum. The 23-year-old righty also finished strong, striking out the side in the 5th.
AFTER 5 | DARIUS. IS. DEALING.
Final Line: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, BB, 6 K
Jackets 0, Pelicans 0 pic.twitter.com/wkCKbYZOwZ
— Augusta GreenJackets (@GreenJackets) May 14, 2021
Unfortunately, the GreenJackets bullpen couldn’t maintain Vines stinginess, and in the final three frames Augusta’s relievers allowed three runs from four hits. Kenny Wells was tagged with the loss for his struggles during the 8th inning, in which he only managed to get two outs before allowing all three of the bullpen’s runs.
Friday’s MiLB slate (May 14)
Louisville @ Gwinnett – 7:05 PM / TBD
GM 1: Mississippi @ Biloxi – 6:35 PM / SP, Victor Vodnik
GM 2: Mississippi @ Biloxi — after GM 1 / SP, Odalvi Javier
Rome @ Greensboro – 6:30 PM / SP, Alan Rangel
Augusta @ Myrtle Beach – 7:05 PM / SP, Spencer Strider
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