Bethancourt's Average Continues to Rise and Spruill Goes Deep Again in the Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap

A wild game in Mississippi almost has a familiar ending but the Braves fall just short against the Suns. Christian Bethancourt continues to hit lots of singles. Zeke Spruill shows that he may have the best stamina in the system while his offense proves last night was a fluke. 

Durham Bulls 8, Gwinnett Braves 5

  • Matt Young 2B - 2-5, RBI, .275 Avg
  • Nate McLouth CF - 1-3, BB, K, .500 Avg
  • Julio Lugo SS - 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, .244 Avg
  • Wilkin Castillo C - 2-3, 2B, BB, .238 Avg
  • Juan Abreu, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.76 ERA
  • Corey Gearrin 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.60 ERA

The Braves drop back into a tie with the Bulls for the lead in their division. Yohan Flande gave up six runs in 4+ innings of work and the offense couldn't climb out of the hole he dug. McLouth appears to be doing well on the rehab trail though he has exited both games early. 

Eric Cordier tries to help the Braves regain the Division lead tomorrow against the Bulls.

Mississippi Braves 6, Jacksonville Suns 7

  • Ernesto Mejia 1B - 2-3, 2B, HR(8), BB, K, SB(4), .272 Avg
  • Marcus Lemon PH - 1-1, 2B, 3 RBI, .241 Avg
  • Brett Oberholtzer 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R(0 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 4.41 ERA

In maybe one of the wildest games of the year Brett Oberholtzer is the recipient of the tough luck loss. His defense made three errors behind him and all of them directly lead to runs for the Suns. Brett really pitched well in this game and did his best to limit any damage when runners got on, but when your catcher throws the ball into the OF with the bases loaded you can't really work around that. The Braves took the lead early, gave it up, tied it again, gave the lead up once more and scored four in the bottom of the ninth. With Tyler Pastornicky up to bat and men on 1st and 2nd the pitched balked the runners to 2nd and 3rd but managed to strike out Pastornicky to end the game. Crazy stuff here. 

J.J. Hoover will make the start for the Braves. 

Kinston Indians 0, Lynchburg Hillcats 8

  • Andrelton Simmons SS -2-4, 2B, 3B, BB, .298 Avg
  • Phil Gosselin 2B - 2-3, 2B, HR(2), 4 RBI, BB, K, .273 Avg
  • Adam Milligan DH - 2-5, HR(11), K, .276 Avg
  • Joe Leonard 3B - 3-3, 2B, RBI, BB, .255 Avg
  • Zeke Spruill 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 3.40 ERA

Another great outing from Zeke Spruill on top of the Hillcats' bats bouncing back after being silenced last night gives the team a blowout win. Spruill has been a workhorse this season for the Hillcats. In his last ten games he has pitched seven or more innings seven times. He still struggled with consistency - pitching a shutout in one game and then giving up seven runs in the next - but he has allowed just one run (unearned) in his last two outs totaling 16 innings. 

Blaine Sims takes the mound for his third start of the season.

Lexington Legends 4, Rome Braves 2

  • Christian Bethancourt C - 3-5, SB(6), 2 E(10), .310 Avg
  • Edward Salcedo 3B - 2-4, K, .271 Avg
  • Evan Gattis DH - 2-4, 2B, .312 Avg
  • Caleb Brewer 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R(3 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, 3.32 ERA

The Braves racked up twelve hits in the game but just couldn't string enough together to really capitalize on their opportunities. Bethancourt added another three hits to his total and brought his June average up to .436. It is a little bit of an empty average but he barrels the ball up well and it appears the hits are starting to fall for him. Obviously this isn't sustainable, but this is the first time in two years we have seen him on any kind of a hot streak at the plate. 

Willie Kempf will try to keep his 0.00 ERA for Rome. 

DSL Nationals 4, DSL Braves 5

  • Ibrahim McKenzie 1B - 1-4, RBI, SB(3), K, .204 Avg
  • Abraham Espinosa 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.52 ERA

I honestly don't if I have ever read a less impressive box score that this one, at least on the offensive side. The Braves collected seven hits but not one player had more than one and no one had an extra base hit. Abraham Espinosa pitched a solid game and I really would be surprised if we didn't see him make the jump stateside at some point this summer. 

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