Braves: Joey Estes strikes out 11 for Augusta and Kyle Muller dominates for Gwinnett

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We had an extra pair of games down on the farm yesterday as Gwinnett needed to make up Tuesday’s contest, and Rome had to resume its suspended matchup. Impressively, the Braves affiliates won all six games for a good old-fashioned six-game organizational sweep.

Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s action…

 

Gwinnett Stripers (17-15)

GM 1: W, 5-4 (7 inn.) vs. Memphis

GM 2: W, 3-1 (8 inn.) vs. Memphis 

 

GAME 1

  • SP, B. Wilson – (W), 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, K
  • C, A. Jackson – 1 for 3, HR, 3 RBI 
  • LF, D. Waters – 2 for 4, RBI 

BOX SCORE 

Game 1 of the Stripers and Redbirds doubleheader on Wednesday featured a nice comeback and a clutch piece of hitting by a struggling Alex Jackson. 

With Gwinnett down 4-0 in the 5th, Travis Demeritte led off with what wound up being a two-run inning as he singled, Sean Kazmar doubled, and Drew Waters singled. The Stripers took ahold of the lead the very next frame when Johan Camargo and Jason Kipnis both singled to start the inning. The two base runners were key because this was when Jackson stepped to the plate and came up big for Gwinnett.

 

The go-ahead homer by AJax made it 5-4, a lead the Stripers would obviously hold onto. Although three batters after that crucial long ball, Memphis pulled off a rare triple-play on Gwinnett when batter Ryan Casteel hit a soft grounder to third.

 

Oh well. The Stripers got the win, and that’s all that matters. 

It wasn’t Bryse Wilson’s best night as his start featured a ton of contact. But most of the damage done against him was base hits; Memphis managed just two XBH versus Wilson. 

 

GAME 2

  • SP, K. Muller – 6 IP, H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K
  • CF, D. Waters – 2 for 3, RBI, R, SB
  • 2B/RF, R. Goins – 2 for 3, 2B

BOX SCORE 

Wednesday’s second game was all about southpaw Kyle Muller and his beautiful 88-pitch outing. You see the line above, which is by far his best performance of the 2021 season. But what’s even more impressive is the complete transformation that’s occurred since he posted a 7.63 ERA in his first four starts of the year. In Muller’s last three outings, the 23-year-old sports a 1.68 ERA to go with 20 strikeouts in 16 innings. The kid has found his groove, folks.

Game 2 also featured two more hits for Waters, who’s now up to a .283 AVG for the season. Waters’ RBI single in the 8th was a big one as it broke Gwinnett’s 1-1 tie with Memphis and eventually the team’s two-run win. 

The Stripers’ pitching was all-in-all impressive in that final matchup yesterday. First, it was Muller, but then both Yoan Lopez and Jesse Chavez worked a clean inning apiece to help preserve Gwinnett’s team-wide three-hitter. 

 


 

Mississippi Braves (17-15)

W, 5-4 vs. Biloxi 

  • SP, O. Javier – (W), 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 6 K
  • SS, B. Shewmake – 2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI
  • RF, T. Harris – 2 for 3, HR, RBI

BOX SCORE 

 

Mississippi barely skated by in Wednesday’s win. Down 5-1 in the 9th, Biloxi managed to score three runs off the usually-stingy Troy Bacon. But following a Shuckers two-out homer to get within one, the M-Braves reliever bounced back with a clutch game-ending strikeout. 

We’ll hit the juicy points here, and there’s perhaps nothing more notable from last night’s game than the performance of prospect Braden Shewmake, who belted his second homer of the season in the 7th (his first long ball since May 13… or 18 games ago). 

 

And the much-needed good fortunes didn’t end with Shewmake. A player that has been almost as miserable at the plate in 2021 as Shewmake also managed to have some success on Wednesday, outfielder Jefrey Ramos. Ramos put Mississippi up with a long homer, with the score tied at one apiece in the 2nd.

 

This M-Braves offense, at times, can be really deep. On a night that its usual producers — CJ Alexander and Shea Langeliers —  finished 0 for 7, it was guys like Shewmake and Ramos that picked up the slack. And not to be forgotten, prospect outfielder Trey Harris also got in on the home run party with a dinger in the 3rd.

 

To add to the hot offense, save for Bacon’s implosion in the final frame, Mississippi’s pitching last night was nearly unhittable. Righty Odalvi Javier started the game, put together his usual stingy work in an 82-pitch outing, and followed up with three hitless frames from Brooks Wilson and Chris Nunn. That’s another win-streak for the M-Braves as Wednesday makes three in a row. 

 


 

Rome Braves (17-15)

GM 1: W, 8-4 vs. Asheville 

GM 2: W, 5-3 (7 inn.) vs. Asheville 

 

GAME 1

  • SP, B. Elder – 2 ⅓ IP, H, 3 K
  • 1B, B. Ball – 1 for 2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
  • RF, J. Franklin – 2 for 4, R

BOX SCORE

A five-run 2nd inning for Rome in Game 1 — featuring 11 batters — was what made the difference yesterday. However, Asheville did make things interesting by nearly climbing back from a 6-0 deficit during the final four frames.

It was a unique way to win for the R-Braves, given the Tourists both out-hit (9-6) and out-homered (1-0) them. However, three errors by Asheville on defense, and some costly walks in that fruitful 5th inning, really made it much easier for Rome to pull out the victory. 

Bryce Elder continued his suspended start from the day before, and just like on Tuesday, he was nearly perfect into the 3rd inning. Elder allowed just a pair of hits in 4 ⅔ scoreless frames, if you combine both days, while striking out six and walking none — just another day on the farm for the 22-year-old righty.

 

GAME 2

  • SP, C. Huntley – IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, K
  • RF, J. Franklin – 1 for 2, HR, RBI, BB
  • RP, F. Tarnok – (W), 4 IP, BB, 8 K

BOX SCORE 

Rome went with a bullpen game in the second contest as Coleman Huntley got roughed up a bit in his one inning of work. However, Zach Daniels was sharp in the 2nd and 3rd. Then prospect Freddy Tarnok made his 2021 debut with four absolutely dominant innings to finish off the win. 

The R-Braves offense in Game 2 included more production from 2020 draftee Jesse Franklin, who homered for the fourth time this season in the latter contest. Outfielder Shean Michel also contributed a much-needed pair of hits, while Garrett Saunders and Kevin Josephina provided the other two base hits. 

 


 

Augusta GreenJackets (14-17)

W, 3-1 vs. Myrtle Beach 

  • SP, J. Estes – 5 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 11 K
  • DH, B. Vasquez – 1 for 3, 2 RBI, 2 SB
  • 3B, V. Grissom – 2 for 4, R

BOX SCORE 

It’s challenging to improve upon already impressive numbers such as a… 1.29 ERA and 12 strikeouts per nine. Still, somehow righty Joey Estes managed to do just that on Wednesday as he tossed an 11-strikeout, three-hitter versus Myrtle Beach. A pair of singles and a triple were his only mistakes, and only one inning of Estes’ outing went by without multiple punch outs. Anyways, the kid’s ERA for 2021 will fall even further to 1.01 in 21 ⅔ innings. 

Offensively, following the Pelicans game-tying run in the top of the 8th, Braulio Vasquez gave the GreenJackets its go-ahead runs as he slapped a ground ball to center to score both Landon Stephens and Javier Valdes. Stephens was the producer of Augusta’s first run, coming in the 6th when he doubled in prospect, Vaughn Grissom. Lead-off hitter Cade Bunnell also added a two-bagger on Wednesday. 

 

Today’s probables are Mississippi’s A.J. Puckett (3.18 ERA), Rome’s Tanner Gordon (5.82 ERA), and Augusta’s Tyler Owens (7.07 ERA).

 

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