Mississippi evened their best-of-five series against Mobile at one game apiece Friday night, outlasting the BayBears 4-3. Ian Thomas started the game for the Braves and wasn't particularly sharp, allowing 4 hits and five walks in five and two-thirds innings. The upside was that he didn't allow any runs and struck out four men. Mark Lamm and Gary Moran combined to pitch two innings in relief of Thomas, as Lamm struck out all four batters he faced. Ryne Harper made things interesting in the ninth, allowing three runs to score, two of which came via a home run from first baseman Nick Evans. The late onslaught would not be enough, however, as Gwinnett was able to hold on to the lead that had been secured by their offense. Shortstop Omar Luna knocked a home run, reaching base three times in sum. Slugging left fielder Robby Hefflinger also mashed a home run in the contest, going back-to-back with Luna. After his promotion from Lynchburg, Hefflinger struggled mightily, posting a .546 OPS in 53 games for Mississippi. Hefflinger's lengthy swing and flawed approach have always raised red flags, the former of which was on full display in Double-A, striking out in nearly 31 percent of his plate appearances. The big question of the evening revolved around Tommy La Stella, who reached base twice in two trips via a double and a walk — was he pulled from the game due to an impending call-up to the big club? The answer, as it turns out, is no. Kyle Tait, Mississippi's wonderful play-by-play announcer, reported via twitter that he left the game due to a migraine, breaking hearts all over Atlanta. Catcher Christian Bethancourt, a member of the 2013 Southern League Post-Season All-Star Team, also recorded two hits, fanning once.
The M-Braves return to Trustmark Park on Saturday for game three of the series. The Braves will send side-arming righty Gus Schlosser to the mound to face lefty Andrew Chafin, a 2011 supplemental first-round pick out of Kent State University. Chafin has a 119:55 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 157.1 innings across two levels this season and possesses a *wicked* slider.
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