The Braves made a late-inning comeback last night, although the bullpen couldn’t come through, and Atlanta lost its second game in a row. Things are looking grim at the MLB level, but good thing we still have plenty to look forward to down on the farm.
Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s action…
Gwinnett Stripers (15-11)
W, 11-3 vs. Jacksonville
- SP, K. Muller – (W), 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K
- LF, P. Ervin – 1 for 4, HR, 4 RBI
- RF, T. Demeritte – 2 for 4, 2 2B
Wednesday featured yet another offensive surge by Gwinnett in which the lineup busted out for five runs in the opening inning after eight batters came to the plate. Prospect Drew Waters led off the game by reaching first from a fielding error by Jacksonville, and from there, the Stripers just went down the line. Orlando Arcia knocked in the first run, followed by a sac-fly from Alex Jackson and then a three-run home run by Philip Ervin.
— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) June 2, 2021
The early lead was a blessing for Stripers starter Kyle Muller, who has had a rough start to the 2021 season. However, last night the prospect southpaw had his A+ stuff as he worked around two runs from four hits. Much of the damage done against Muller came in the 2nd when the 23-year-old lefty had to labor through a pair of singles and two walks, but he managed the stress nicely by allowing just one run during that sequence.
Reliever Thomas Burrows replaced Muller and started the 6th but was immediately greeted with two runs from Jacksonville, following a lead-off walk and a two-run homer. But an RBI double by Jackson from back in the 5th had Gwinnett rolling anyways with a 7-1 lead.
Waters added a run for the Stripers in the 6th with an RBI single, and Ryan Casteel pushed across two with a line-drive double in the 7th.
POWERFUL 2 RBI DOUBLE ~very nice~ pic.twitter.com/eBFjcx0Md2
— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) June 3, 2021
And lastly, Ervin tacked on Gwinnett’s 11th run of the game when he popped up a sac-fly to right to score Arcia in the 8th.
All-in-all, the Stripers had 13 hits, six XBH, and even a triple by the speedy Alex Jackson! And even better, Waters now has three-straight two-hit performances, pushing him closer and closer to a .300 AVG for the season — .273 after Wednesday.
Mississippi Braves (13-13)
W, 9-4 vs. Pensacola
- SP, H. Deal – (W), 5 ⅔ IP, 8 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K
- C, S. Langeliers – 4 for 5, 3 HR, 3 RBI
- RF, T. Harris – 4 for 5, 2 2B, 3 RBI
This one was all about the Braves’ top pick from 2019, Mr. Shea Langeliers, who on Wednesday slugged three home runs as he continues to absolutely demolish Double-A pitching. Here are all three long balls…
What else can you say???
3️⃣ homers tonight for @Langeliers23 and the Braves lead it now 8-2 in the 6th inning down in Pensacola. Langeliers now on top of the league with 7 homers, plus 4-for-4 tonight. pic.twitter.com/ELQ4UAlsHK
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) June 3, 2021
I’ll have a little piece here on the site about Langeliers later today, but this kid is on fire right now and has definitely quieted the critics who claimed he was just a defensive catcher.
While Langeliers was participating in his own little home run derby, the rest of Mississippi’s lineup was doing its best to keep up.
Trey Harris slapped a big double in the 5th (one of two doubles by him) to put the M-Braves up by four.
And Greyson Jenista popped a flair to left to push across another run in the 5th.
Mississippi also had multi-hit games from CJ Alexander and Jefrey Ramos, as well as an RBI from lead-off hitter Justin Dean. Altogether, the M-Braves tallied 15 hits as a team.
He might be a footnote tonight, but Hayden Deal turns in an excellent start.
5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 6 SO
Season highs in innings and strikouts. pic.twitter.com/9Mtd1fzgTF
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) June 3, 2021
Meanwhile, Mississippi’s pitching was also solid. Starter Hayden Deal was a groundout machine and put together a nice 82-pitch outing last night in which he allowed just a pair of runs from eight hits, giving him a 3.97 ERA for the season. The bullpen was efficient, too, as four relievers combined to strike out five while allowing a couple of runs from four hits in 4 ⅓ innings of work. This Mississippi Braves team seems to be firing on all cylinders.
Rome Braves (15-11)
L, 14-4 vs. Bowling Green
- SP, J. Shuster – 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 K
- 3B, K. Josephina – 2 for 4, HR, RBI
- SS, B. Philip – 1 for 3, HR, RBI, BB
Rome and Bowling Green each finished with eight hits apiece on Wednesday, but two six-run innings for the Hot Rods allowed for an easy win. Following a solid 39-pitch start for Jared Shuster, all of the damage came against Rome’s Alan Rangel (7 unearned runs), Mitch Stallings (5 ER), and Marrick Crouse (2 ER) before Davis Schwab finally put an end to the torture with a hitless 8th inning.
Prospect outfielder Michael Harris had an uncharacteristic 0 for 4 finish last night, but the rest of Rome’s lineup was productive. Third baseman Kevin Josephina continues to rake as he added two more hits, including his third home run of the season. And both Rusber Estrada and 2019 pick Beau Philip each added a long ball of their own as well. Jesse Franklin V finished 1 for 3 with a double; Cody Milligan and Andrew Moritz tacked on a base hit apiece, as well.
Augusta GreenJackets (12-14)
W, 7-4 vs. Charleston
- SP, J. Estes – 4 IP, 3 H, BB, 7 K
- DH, J. Valdes – 2 for 3, 2 2B, 4 RBI
- 2B, C. Bunnell – 3 for 5, 2 2B, 3 R
The usually-scrappy Augusta offense came together and tallied 13 hits in its win last night off the backs of a strong start by 19-year-old Joey Estes.
The GreenJackets pushed two runs across in the 1st, thanks to singles by Cade Bunnell and Willie Carter, who were both knocked in by Javier Valdes when he slapped a two-out double. Bunnell led off with another hit — a double — in the 4th and came around to score again, this time from an RBI single by Landon Stephens to go up 3-0.
It was the 5th, though, that featured the nail in the coffin by Augusta. With one out, Bunnell picked up his third hit of the evening and his second double, and Vaughn Grissom knocked him in with a double of his own to go up by four. Then, later in the frame, both Carter and Valdes added on with a single and a double, respectively, giving the Jackets a 6-0 advantage. Valdes tallied his fourth RBI in the 7th from a sac-fly.
A few players from Augusta’s lineup are trending in the right direction and could earn a promotion to Rome soon. Carter and his .950 OPS is the obvious candidate, of course, but guys like Grissom (.257 AVG), Valdes (.286 AVG), and Rodriguez (.254 AVG) are all making strong cases too. Hopefully, the right-handed Estes will soon begin operating on a more lenient pitch count so we can see what he truly has over a five- or six-inning start.
For Thursday’s slate of games, expect to see Mississippi’s Odalvi Javier (1.76 ERA), Rome’s Bryce Elder (3.51 ERA), and Augusta’s Roddery Munoz (4.76 ERA) on the mound as starters.