A very full slate of games on Saturday had some standout performances on both sides of the ball.
Gwinnett Stripers 8, Charlotte Knights 5
- Ender Inciarte, CF: 2-5, RBI
- Alex Jackson, C: 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, .844 OPS
- Rafael Ortega, RF: 1-3, HR, RBI, 2 BB, .920 OPS
- Mike Foltynewicz, SP: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 5.09 ERA
Gwinnett got another big night offensively from Alex Jackson to secure an 8-5 victory over Charlotte on Saturday. Mike Foltynewicz continued his quest to find the form that made him one of the better pitchers in the National League last year and the results yesterday were mixed. Giving up just the one walk was a positive development, but he also gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings of work which, for the moment, ranks as the worst start he has had since he has gone back down to Triple-A. Corbin Clouse made his return to Gwinnett after missing extended time with shoulder inflammation and looked awesome in striking out five batters in two clean innings of work. Dan Winkler also pitched a scoreless inning of relief, although his was a bit more adventurous as he walked a pair of batters.
On offense, Alex Jackson had his second big game in the last three days as he went yard again and drove in four runs. He is batting .324 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his past 10 games. Rafael Ortega connected for his 18th home run of the season and both Ender Inciarte and Jonathan Morales had multi-hit games for the Stripers.
Mississippi Braves 2, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 7
- Drew Waters, CF: 3-4, 2B, R, CS, .905 OPS
- Cristian Pache, 0-3, BB, R, .867 OPS
- Tucker Davidson, SP: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2.23 ERA
Tucker Davidson had himself a rough first inning in what turned out to be a tough night overall for Mississippi as they fell by the score of 7-2. Davidson only lasted one inning on Saturday and as far as we are aware, that has more to do with the fact that he didn’t look good and threw 40 pitches in the inning rather than an injury or something like that. Connor Johnstone and Andres Santiago came on in relief and each guy allowed multiple runs and by the end of the seventh inning, it was a five run lead for Jacksonville. Brad Roney closed things out for Mississippi with a scoreless inning of relief.
Through 89 games, Drew Waters leads all of profesional baseball with 121 hits. He leads all Double-A Baseball with 184 total bases, 30 doubles 44 extra-base hits, 35 multi-hit games and a .343 batting average.
— Chris Harris (@CHarris731) July 14, 2019
On offense, Drew Waters continues to rake and not only has batting average about .340 on the season, but he also leads the Southern League in a bunch of offensive categories and is among the leaders in minor league baseball in several as well. It seems like we talk about him everyday which speaks a lot to the season he has put together. Cristian Pache had a somewhat quiet night as he only reached base via a walk which is a positive development in itself. Unfortunately, the offense was pretty quiet with the exception of Waters and just couldn’t keep pace with the Jumbo Shrimp.
Florida Fire Frogs 5, Clearwater Threshers 2 – Game One
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-2, HR, 2 R, .614 OPS
- Trey Harris, RF: 1-3, RBI, R, .768 OPS
- Andrew Moritz, CF: 2-4, .737 OPS
- Philip Pfeifer, SP: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.99 ERA
Florida Fire Frogs 3, Clearwater Threshers 0 – Game Two
- Kevin Josephina, 3B: 1-2, RBI, BB, 2 R, .670 OPS
- Tristan Beck, SP: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 4.05 ERA
We are fairly certain that the Fire Frogs are contractually obligated to play at least one doubleheader each week due to rain and in this one, they swept the twin bill by the scores of 5-2 and 3-0. Philip Pfeifer went the full seven innings in his start and looked good as he gave up just a pair of runs while striking out seven batters. Tristan Beck was lights out in his start as he ALMOST went the full seven while giving up zero earned runs or walks while striking out eight batters. Beck has looked like a new pitcher since returning from the injured list and remains a guy to keep a close eye on.
Offensively, Drew Lugbauer appears to be heating up as he connected for his 13th home run on the season. The overall line this season looks ugly, but he is batting .333 over his last 10 games including six home runs which, in the Florida State League, is no joke. Trey Harris had hits in each half of the doubleheader and CJ Alexander reached base in both halves as well.
Rome Braves 5, Kannapolis Intimidators 6
- Braden Shewmake, DH: 2-5, R, .936 OPS
- Griffin Benson, 1B: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, .729 OPS
- Dilmer Mejia, SP: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2.48 ERA
Rome could not quite overcome a four-run fourth inning from Kannapolis as they fell to the Intimidators on a walk-off single from Andrew Vaughn by the score of 6-5. Dilmer Mejia looked strong through the first four innings, but things got out of a hand in the fifth as it went double, fly out, double, single, triple before Mejia was pulled from the game. An inherited runner would go on to score and that inning proved to be the difference in the ball game.
On offense, Rome got multi-hit games from Braden Shewmake, Griffin Benson, and Ricardo Rodriguez. Benson’s eighth home run on the season got Rome within a run of Kannapolis in the seventh inning and his RBI single in the top of the 9th tied the game. Jeremy Fernandez had a tough game as he went 0-5 and is hitting just .200 over his last 10 games with 13 strikeouts. He shows flashes of the offensive prowess that excited us, but so far full season ball hasn’t been particularly kind to him just yet.
Danville Braves 2, Burlington Royals 5
- Bryce Ball, 1B: 2-4, 2B, RBI, 1.211 OPS
- Cody Milligan, 2B: 1-3, 2B, BB, R, .716 OPS
- Darius Vines, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3.86 ERA
Bryce Ball just keeps hitting, but Danville fell to Burlington by the score of 5-2. Darius Vines had his first tough start as a professional as he gave up three earned runs, although that is very deceiving as all three were inherited runners that scored thanks to a…..tough relief appearance from Alger Hodgson which would have been actually worse somehow if not for an outfield assist at home thanks to Charles Reyes.
Bryce Ball had another multi-hit game including a double as he continues to be the story up in Danville. He has put up a video game-esque 1.211 OPS through this first 20 games a professional and honestly probably belongs in full season ball already as he has yet to be challenged in rookie ball.
GCL Braves 0, GCL Rays 8 – Game One
- Stephen Paolini, CF: 2-3, BB, .496 OPS
- Michael Harris, RF: 1-3, BB, .917 OPS
- Caleb Dirks, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 3.00 ERA
GCL Braves 1, GCL Rays 2 – Game Two
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-3, 3B, RBI, .671 OPS
- Kadon Morton, CF: 1-2, 2B, BB, R
- Luis De Jesus, SP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1.50 ERA
The GCL Braves got sw their doubleheader with the GCL Rays and saw some promising performances from some of the prep hitters in the 2019 draft class. Stephen Paolini had his second multi-hit game as a pro and Michael Harris reached base twice in the first game of the twin bill. Vaughn Grissom had a multi-hit game including a triple in game two and Kadon Morton reached base a pair of times as well in the second game.