Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Bryce Ball continues to annihilate rookie ball pitching, crushing his ninth home run of the season and drawing two walks in a Danville win. Kevin Gausman struck out 10 batters in his rehab start.
(54-41) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (47-46) Lehigh Valley IronPigs
- Travis Demeritte, RF: 0-2, BB, HBP, .295/.398/.583
- Alex Jackson: C: 0-3, BB, .236/.323/.553
- Ender Inciarte, CF: 1-5, 2B .208/.269/.250
- Kevin Gausman, SP: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 2.57 ERA
Gwinnett struggled on offense and only managed four hits in taking a loss to the IronPigs. The Stripers managed a hit in the first inning but then the offense shut down over the next four innings and after five they found themselves trailing 3-0. Ender Inciarte led off the sixth inning with his first extra base hit of his rehab stint and Jack Lopez immediately followed with a home run that gave the Stripers a breath of life. In the eighth inning Lopez and Adam Duvall each drew walks to bring Travis Demeritte to the plate with none out, but Demeritte struck out on three pitches and Andres Blanco grounded into a double play to snuff the rally. Alex Jackson led off the ninth with a walk and Pedro Florimon singled to push him to scoring position with one out, but a strikeout from Rafael Ortega and a ground out by Ender Inciarte ended the game.
Kevin Gausman made a promising start and dominated the Lehigh Valley offense over seven innings. Gausman had his struggled early, including a two run home run in the second inning, but he was forcing swings and misses and had five strikeouts through his first two innings. After that second inning he allowed just two hits and issued no walks while striking out five more batters over five innings. Both of those hits came in the fifth inning, but he forced a double play to get out of the inning unharmed. In addition to the ten strikeouts Gausman had seven ground ball outs and only allowed two fly outs. Kurt Hoekstra replaced Gausman in the eighth inning and he got an unfortunate welcome, allowing a home run to Phil Gosselin on the first pitch he threw. Hoekstra hit the next batter but bounced back to retire six of the final seven batters he faced with three strikeouts. Hoekstra’s rise has been absolutely incredible, going from an organizational infielder at Low-A to making it to Triple-A as a relief pitcher just three month into his first season pitching full time since high school. Hoekstra is a legitimate relief prospect with a fastball up to 95 with movement and a curveball that shows flashes of promise. Given more experience he has the chance to be a middle reliever in the major leagues, and he has above average athleticism, though he’s far behind at 26 and will have to continue climbing a steep hill.
Next Game: 7/17 vs (47-46) Lehigh Valley IronPigs @ 7:05 PM ET
LHV: Ramon Rosso (0-1, 5.34 ERA)
(43-52) Mississippi Braves 5, (43-52) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 0
- William Contreras, C: 0-2, BB, HBP, .172/.258/.184
- Cristian Pache, CF: 1-5, RBI, .288/.349/.505
- Kyle Muller, SP: 1-2, 2B, RBI, .222/.211/.333
- Kyle Muller, SP: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 3.50 ERA
Kyle Muller knocked in a run and didn’t allow any in leading the Braves to a 5-0 win. A single by Ray-Patrick Didder led things off for the Braves in the first inning, then after the Jumbo Shrimp walked the bases loaded they threw a wild pitch to score Didder and give the Braves an early lead. Muller doubled with two outs in the second inning, but the Braves could do nothing with him and they went to the fourth with the game still at 1-0. The Braves loaded the bases with no one out for Muller in the fourth, who lifted a sacrifice fly to score William Contreras for the second run of the game. A single from Cristian Pache followed to break the game open a bit and push the lead to 3-0. Contreras got hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth inning and then Riley Unroe hit a pinch hit home run to put the game truly out of reach at 5-0. Contreras was the only Braves starter without a hit, though he reached base twice in the game.
Muller wasn’t necessarily dominate on the mound for the Braves, but he got the job done with 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings of work. Muller was a magnet for walks and issued five free passes in his start, but never allowed more than one walk in an inning and was able to work around all the walks by limiting Jacksonville to three hits. Muller only threw 56 of his 103 pitches for a strike, and he was lifted with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Claudio Custodio finished a scoreless inning of work, but was pulled with one out in the sixth after loading the bases. Bradley Roney calmed the fires by ended the inning with a pop out and a strikeout. Jason Creasy closed out the game by striking out four batters in two scoreless innings to complete the shutout and the win.
Next Game: 7/18 vs (49-47) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 7:35 PM ET
PNS: Randy Dobnak (4-1, 2.76 ERA)
(33-60) Florida Fire Frogs 7, (44-47) Palm Beach Cardinals 11
- Trey Harris, RF: 2-4, BB, .294/.378/.437
- CJ Alexander, 3B: 1-5, BB, SB, .200/.351/.200
- Nolan Kingham, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 5.01 ERA
Florida held a late lead over the Cardinals but a six run eighth inning ruined their three game winning streak and sent them home with a crushing loss. Florida controlled the game through most of it, getting on the board in the second with an RBI single from Logan Brown. Brown came through in the next inning with a two run single and the Fire Frogs were off early with a 3-0 lead. The Fire Frogs added runs in the fifth and sixth to push their lead out to 5-1, but a three run inning from the Cardinals cut that lead down to one and the offense had to go back to work. A hit from Andrew Moritz in the seventh inning pushed the lead out to two, and Florida answered another Cardinals run with Brett Langhorne’s fourth hit and second RBI of the day. Palm Beach then jumped out to a four run lead in the bottom of the eighth and Florida had no answer and took the loss.
Nolan Kingham gave the Fire Frogs a strong outing and through five innings held a 5-1 lead and had six strikeouts and only two hits allowed. After striking out the first batter of the sixth things unravelled a bit for Kingham, as he walked his first batter of the game and then allowed two run scoring doubles and an RBI single to cut the Fire Frogs lead all the way down to one run. The Fire Frogs bullpen was atrocious, with Daysbel Hernandez getting the first crack at things and allowing a run in the seventh inning. Matt Hartman came in and got a couple of quick outs in the eighth, but then allowed three walks and three hits and departed with runners on and five runs already in. Brandon White was brought in to slow things down, but he allowed an inherited runner to score on a walk and a double before getting a fly out to end the inning.
Next Game: 7/17 vs (44-47) Palm Beach Cardinals @ 6:30 PM ET
PMB: Perry DellaValle (5-4, 3.00 ERA)
(44-51) Rome Braves 4, (48-46) Lexington Legends 6
- Shea Langeliers, C: 0-4, BB, .203/.294/.324
- Justin Dean, CF: 1-6, 3B, .285/.394/.442
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-5, BB, RBI, .369/.404/.524
- Jose Olague, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3.30 ERA
The Rome Braves made a comeback to tie the game in the seventh inning, but still fell in extra innings when they failed to score a run. Lexington jumped out to a lead in the top of the first inning, but Justin Dean had a quick answer and led off the bottom of the first with a triple on the first pitch. Greg Cullen wasted no time getting him in and singled on the second pitch of his at bat to tie the game back up at one. The Braves offense was shut down through the next four innings, and after five innings they trailed 4-1. In the bottom of the fifth they hit three consecutive singles to load the bases, and then walks from Greg Cullen and Braden Shewmake brought in two runs to bring the Braves back within a run. A single from Braulio Vasquez in the seventh inning tied the game, and after the teams traded zeroes it went to extra innings. Lexington grabbed two runs in the top of the inning and Rome went down 1-2-3 to end the game.
Jose Olague had his struggled on the mound and lost a streak of three consecutive quality starts when he allowed four runs over six innings. Lexington got off to a hot start off of Olague and dropped a run in the first, but he settled in and held them there until the fourth inning. Olague allowed a go ahead two run home run in that fourth inning then allowed another home run in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-1. Olague managed a quiet sixth inning before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Jake Higginbotham pitched two scoreless innings despite allowed four hits, and he struck out three batters. Higginbotham struggled in May, but over his last 18 1⁄3 innings has turned his season around and allowed only one earned run while striking out 22 batters and walking three. Tanner Lawson pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but in the tenth he allowed three singles that scored two runs and he took the loss.
Next Game: 7/17 vs (48-46) Lexington Legends @ 1:00 PM ET
ROM: Odalvi Javier (2-6, 3.66 ERA)
(11-16) Danville Braves 7, (13-14) Burlington Royals 1
- Bryce Ball, 1B: 1-2, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI, .341/.429/.768
- Beau Philip, SS: 0-3, 2 BB, .130/.259/.246
- Ricky DeVito, SP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 6.48 ERA
This game belonged to the Braves from the start, as they never trailed in the game after taking a lead in the second inning. Bryce Ball stayed scorching hot at the plate and led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to give Danville the lead. Two batters later and Michael Mateja followed with another solo home run to make it 2-0. Danville made it 3-0 later on a sacrifice fly, then in the third inning added runs on a Cody Birdsong single and a Mateja ground out to push the lead to 5-0. That score held until very late in the game, and in the ninth inning Cody Milligan and Beau Philip each reached base to open things up. A fly out from Ball pushed the lead out to 6-1 and then Birdsong had his second RBI hit of the game to put the final score at 7-1. Ball’s home run brought him back into a tie for the league lead in home runs, and his .768 slugging percentage is more than 100 points higher than anyone else in the league.
Ricky DeVito made his best start as a professional, going a career high three innings scoreless and hitless while striking out four batters. DeVito did struggle with his control and walked three batters, one in each inning he pitched, but worked around them easily. Peyton Williams had the first relief outing of his career and the first scoreless outing of his career, needing only nine pitches to get through a perfect inning. Albinson Volquez pitched two scoreless innings of relief, and the Braves finished six innings with a no hitter intact. Alex Segal ended that quickly in his two innings of work, and in the seventh he allowed the only run the Royals got in the game. Alex Camacho finished out the game with a scoreless, hitless inning and struck out three batters.
Next Game: 7/17 vs (11-16) Pulaski Yankees @ 6:30 PM ET
DAN: Mitch Stallings (3-1, 2.03 ERA)
PUL: Randy Vasquez (1-0, 2.50 ERA)
(6-9) GCL Braves 9, (7-11) GCL Pirates 6
- Darling Florentino, 3B: 3-5, .281/.314/.500
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-3, HR, 2 BB, RBI, .236/.311/.436
- Christian Zamora, LF: 2-3, 2 3B, BB, RBI, .206/.250/.382
- Matt Withrow, RP: 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 13.50 ERA
The Braves overcame an early deficit to work out a win against the Pirates. Matt Withrow struggled in his rehab start and allowed four runs over two innings of work to put the Braves down 4-2. Vaughn Grissom led off the fifth inning with his second home run of the season to cut the game to 4-3. The Braves added one more run in the inning to tie the game but then handed it back over to the Pirates with two runs in the sixth. The Braves loaded the bases on walks in the bottom of the sixth and then scored all three of those runs to take the lead. A Christian Zamora triple extended the lead by a run and then Zamora scored the game’s final run on a base hit from Kimberling Encarnacion.