There were plenty of highlights from the Braves minor league action on Saturday.
Not only did the big league club emerge victorious on Saturday evening, but the minor league clubs did good work as well with a fine 3-2 slate of games. Luis De Avila was the man of the hour as he threw a seven inning no-hitter, Drew Waters and Vaughn Grissom homered, and Mississippi took Biloxi out behind the woodshed. Lets get into the games.
Gwinnett Stripers 6, Norfolk Tides 1
- Drew Waters, CF: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI, .700 OPS
- Eddie Rosario, LF: 1-4, BB, R, .643 OPS
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI, .724 OPS
- Bryce Elder, SP: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 5.48 ERA
A pair of home runs from Drew Waters and Braden Shewmake were more than enough offense to help the Stripers secure a 6-1 victory over Norfolk. There is no question that Elder’s command has taken a step backward this year and when you have combined that with a propensity for giving up the long ball…well, it hasn’t been great. Fortunately, he induced a good bit of weak contact and didn’t get punished for his three walks too badly. NLCS hero Tyler Matzek made a rehab appearance in this one and needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side which made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was a pair of two-run shots off the bats of the team’s two best prospects that represented the bulk of the Stripers’ run output on Saturday. Drew Waters’ homer came in the third inning while Braden Shewmake waited until ninth inning to connect for his fifth homer of the season. Alex Dickerson and Chadwick Tromp each had three hit games for the Stripers to keep things rolling throughout the game.
Mississippi Braves 18, Biloxi Shuckers 4
- Cody Milligan, CF: 2-6, RBI, 3 R, .667 OPS
- Justin Dean, RF: 3-5, RBI, 5 R, .762 OPS
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 3-4, 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 R, .809 OPS
- Tanner Gordon, SP: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 7.11 ERA
Well then…the Mississippi Braves were not messing around this evening as they absolutely walloped Biloxi by the final score of 18-4. It was nice to see Tanner Gordon missing some bats again after being less than impressive of late. His overall line is not particularly great, but most of the damage done against him was late in this start when the game was well in hand. A hat tip to Odalvi Javier, Indigo Diaz, and Justin Maese for closing the game out with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. In particular, it was nice to see Indigo bounce back after he got beat up in his last appearance.
As for the offense, there was a lot of it. The player of the night has to be Drew Lugbauer who hit his 16th home run of the season and drove in a total of seven runs which is obviously insane. Andrew Moritz, Yariel Gonzalez, and Riley Delgado also drove in multiple runs for the M-Braves. The only position player to not record a hit was Cade Bunnell…and he walked four times. In short, it was a good night to be swinging a bat for Mississippi.
Rome Braves 5, Greenville Drive 0 – Game 1
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 2-2, HR, 3 RBI, 2 HBP, .862 OPS
- Javier Valdes, C: 3-4, HR, RBI, .898 OPS
- Luis De Avila, SP: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 4.24 ERA
Rome Braves 2, Greenville Drive 4 – Game 2
- Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 1-3, .861 OPS
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, DH: 1-3, R, .884 OPS
- Lisandro Santos, SP: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 2.96 ERA
Vaughn Grissom just keeps hitting and Luis De Avila threw a no-no as Rome split a doubleheader with Greenville by the scores of 5-0 and 2-4. There are certainly going to be those that say that a seven inning no-hitter isn’t a true no-hitter, but those people hate fun and success. Luis De Avila was absolutely dealing for Rome in Game One and that makes back to back strong starts for him. Lisandro Santos threw around 60 pitches and pitched most of the first three innings with seven strikeouts. The bullpen kept things close until Austin Smith gave up a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom in the ninth which made us sad.
Vaughn Grissom now has a 30 game on-base streak as he reached base in both halves of the doubleheader. The first half was a tad better than the second as he reached base all four times he came to the plate (although two of those times were painful as he was hit by a pitch twice). Javier Valdes teamed with Grissom to carry the offense in the first game with a homer of his own. In the second game, Rome played some small ball and hit a couple of doubles, but ultimately did do all that much and were fortunate to have the game close at the end.
Augusta GreenJackets 3, Columbia Fireflies 5
- Brandol Mezquita, CF: 3-4, R, .780 OPS
- Braulio Vasquez, 1B: 2-4, RBI, R, .625 OPS
- Luis Vargas, SP: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, 4.11 ERA
A late homer off the Augusta bullpen proved painful as Augusta fell by the score of 5-3. Luis Vargas got the start for the GreenJackets and he did what he usually does and that is put up a very decent start. The zero walks was a particularly nice thing to see as you have to go back to the beginning of May to find a start of his where he pulled off that trick. Rob Griswold was largely good in his three innings of relief, but he probably should have been pulled after two innings in hindsight as three of the four hits he gave up came in his last inning (the top of the ninth) including a two-run bomb that provided the winning margin.
It was a bunch of small ball for Augusta on Saturday as they had 11 hits but only one of which went for extra-bases. Brandol Mezquita had a nice night with three hits at the very least, but this was one of those nights where Augusta put a bunch of balls in play and between some weak contact and some rotten batted ball luck…well it was hard to sustain much offense.