Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: 5/17

Christian Bethancourt went yard to win the game for Gwinnett last night. - Tate Nations

Christian Bethancourt smacked a walk-off home run and Lucas Sims had a strong start in yesterday's action down on the farm.

Gwinnett Braves: 6 vs. Indianapolis Indians: 5

Gwinnett opened their series with Indianapolis by winning a closely-contested game 6-5 on a Christian Bethancourt walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Zach Stewart started on the mound for the G-Braves, and the former Blue Jay, White Sock, and Red Sock was effective in six innings of work, using his sinker-slider combination to limit the Indians to a single run while striking out five batters. The only run against Stewart scored in the top of the fifth inning when Indians outfielder Gregory Polanco (he's pretty good, in case you haven't heard), drove in Chris Dickerson with a double to right field. Otherwise, Stewart did a nice job of stranding runners and keeping Indianapolis off of the board. Stewart was in line to pick up a win until the top of the eighth inning, when Mark Lamm gave up four runs to allow the Indians to take a 5-4 lead. Lamm gave up a double (to that Polanco guy again), a pair of singles, and a home run, which plated four runs. Juan Jaime pitched the final frame for the G-Braves and was perfect, vulturing a relief win.

The real excitement in this game came via Gwinnett's offense, which faced former Phillie Vance Worley, who started and gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings' worth of work. Mark Hamilton hit a solo home run off of Worley, and was one of three G-Braves to homer in the game. The real damage came later in the game, after Indianapolis took the lead. Indians reliever Tyler Waldron took the mound in the bottom of the eighth with a one-run lead and surrendered a game-tying home run to Joey Terdoslavich, his only hit of the day. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Christian Bethancourt jumped all over a first-pitch fastball down the middle of the plate, taking Waldron deep to left field to win the game for the Braves.


Bethancourt's homer was his second hit of the day; he reached in three of his four plate appearances, as he also singled and was hit by a pitch. Phil Gosselin and Derrick Mitchell also had two-hit games for the G-Braves, whose record moved to 24-17 with the win. Cody Martin will take the mound looking to continue his strong work this afternoon at Coolray Field against Indianapolis.

Mississippi Braves: 8 vs. Tennessee Smokies: 3
Mississippi won decisively over the Smokies, going home with an 8-3 victory. David Bromberg was cruising until the sixth inning, but ultimately surrendered three runs on six hits and two walks in 5.1 innings of work, striking out five. Bromberg ran into trouble in the sixth after walking a batter to lead off the inning, and promptly surrendering a two-run home run to Charles Cutler. Kris Bryant and Dustin Geiger followed with a pair of singles, and Jae-Hoon Ha drove in Bryant for a third run, ending Bromberg's day. Brandon Cunniff, however, came in and cleaned up the mess, inducing two foul popups to limit Tennessee's scoring. Cunniff worked another inning without allowing a run, and Eric Berger took care of the final two frames, striking out three and not allowing a baserunner.

The M-Braves' bats were alive yesterday afternoon, plating eight runs in total. Seth Loman had the biggest blows of the day, smacking a two-run home run off of Smokies reliever P.J. Francescon to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Loman then came up against Francescon again in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third, and drove them in with a ground ball double to left field, giving the Braves a lead they wouldn't cede. Backup catcher Matt Kennelly also chipped in with two-run double of his own in the bottom of the seventh, and Elmer Reyes followed him with an RBI single of his own. Mississippi will attempt to win its fifth consecutive game this evening, with J.R. Graham taking the mound against Tennessee.

Lynchburg Hillcats: 5 vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks: 1
  • José Peraza, 2B: 2-3, R, 2B (9), RBI (15), BB, CS (6), .320
  • Kyle Wren, CF: 1-2, R, RBI (9), BB, CS (7), .275
  • David Nick, LF: 1-4, R, 2B (3), 2 RBI (8), K, .333
  • Levi Hyams, DH: 2-4, 2B (5), RBI (17), 2 K, .260
  • Daniel Castro, SS: 1-3, R, SB (4), .282
  • Lucas Sims (W): 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4:6 GO:FO, 4.07 ERA
  • Alex Wilson (SV): 3 IP, 2 K, 4:2 GO:FO, 3.15 ERA
Lucas Sims took the mound for the Hillcats against Wilmington on Saturday night and didn't disappoint. Sims pitched six solid innings, allowing only one run on five hits. Sims walked two batters and struck out four. Sims escaped a jam in the top of the first after allowing a walk and a single, but escaped by inducing an infield popup in foul territory. Sims settled down afterwards, only allowing a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly. He allowed only one extra base hit, a double, on the day. According to Damien Sordelett, the Hillcats' beat writer for the Lynchburg News & AdvanceSims' curveball regained its form last night after being ineffective during his previous three starts, which is certainly a positive thing to hear. The twenty-year-old righty, the top prospect in the Braves' system, has hit a few rough patches in advanced-A ball, but his start last night is certainly a manifestation of his talent. Alex Wilson relieved Sims and pitched three perfect frames with a couple of punchouts for a save.

How's this for a strange bit of information from last night's game: José Peraza and Kyle Wren were both caught stealing and didn't record a successful stolen base. Nevertheless, Peraza and Wren both had productive nights at the plate, with the former going 2-3 with a walk and a double, despite being told that his pink bat (it was Breast Cancer Awareness Night in Lynchburg last night) wouldn't fly.


Levi Hyams, a University of Georgia product, also had a pair of hits in last night's contest, including an RBI double that plated David Nicks in the first inning. David Nick drove in the first two runs of the game for Lynchburg, plating Peraza and Wren with a double of his own. The 24-year-old former Diamondback farmhand has swung a hot bat since being signed as a free agent earlier this month for Lynchburg, with an OPS of .899. The same two teams will battle again this afternoon, with Lay Batista taking the ball for Lynchburg.

Rome Braves: 1 at Lakewood BlueClaws: 3
  • Connor Oliver, CF: 2-4, 2B (4), 2 K, .333
  • Victor Caratini, C: 0-3, BB, 2 K, .291
  • Joey Meneses, 1B: 1-3, R, 2B (11), BB, K, .290
  • Victor Reyes, RF: 1-4, 2B (7), RBI (20), OF assist, .377
  • Blake Brown, LF: 1-4, 2 K, .225
  • Carlos Franco, 3B: 3-4, 2B (2), .204
  • A.J. Holland (L): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 6:6 GO:FO, 4.50 ERA
  • Andy Otero: 2 IP, 3 H, BB, 3 K, 2:0 GO:FO, 0.00 ERA
After a long bus ride from North Carolina up to New Jersey, Rome dropped a 3-1 contest to the BlueClaws yesterday evening. A.J. Holland got the start for the Braves in his home state, and was serviceable, pitching six innings and giving up three runs. Although Holland didn't give up a ton of runs, he certainly didn't miss many bats, as he struck out only two batters on the evening. Andy Otero, the 21-year-old Panamanian, made his third appearance on the season for Rome, and took care of the final two innings' worth of work, striking out three and tiptoeing around four baserunners without allowing a run to score.

Although Rome managed to rack up eight hits on the evening, including four doubles, the offense could only muster one run. The lone run was driven in by Victor Reyes via a fourth-inning RBI ground-rule double that plated Joey Meneses after a double of his own. Reyes' hit streak now sits at 17 games, and oh yeah, he also threw out a runner at the plate attempting to score. What can't he do? Well, other than hit home runs at this point in his career. Connor Oliver had a couple of hits, including a double, to raise his average to .333. Carlos Franco had a three-hit day, including a double. Yean Carlos Gil is scheduled to take the mound for Rome against Lakewood this afternoon.
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