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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Acuña Homers Again

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Acuña extends hit streak despite Mississippi’s late collapse

Ronald Acuna

(27-25) Gwinnett Braves 2, (19-33) Louisville Bats 3 - F/11

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, 2B: 1-for-5 BB, R .264/.310/.377
  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 1-for-4, .295/.367/.364
  • Mel Rojas Jr., RF: 2-for-4 HR, RBI, R, .264/.324/.425

Gwinnett dropped a tough one despite a brilliantly pitched game by Andrew Albers (6.0IP 3H 0R 0BB 9K). Albers absolutely pounded the zone, throwing 60 strikes on 80 pitches. The situation played out very strangely as Albers was used to bunt a runner over, but then was taken out in the bottom of the seventh. David Peterson kept the Bats in check in the seventh with Gwinnett up 2-0, but then faltered in the eighth giving up a single and two doubles - letting the Bats tie the game at 2-2 where the game remained until the 11th inning when Sebastian Elizalde singled in Beau Amaral to complete the walk off win for the Bats.

Offensively, the Braves couldn’t get much done - mounting just eight hits over 11 innings, stranding 12 men, and going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Gwinnett got off to a 1-0 lead thanks for a Mel Rojas Jr. solo homerun, and then were able to add another run courtesy of a Sean Kazmar single that drove in Ozzie Albies - but other than that Gwinnett could not solve the Bats pitching staff.

(26-27) Mississippi Braves 6, (28-25) Jackson General 7

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuña, CF: 1-for-5, HR 3RBI, 2R, .402/.454/.644
  • Travis Demeritte, 3B: 0-for-4, .251/.327/.440
  • Kolby Allard, SP: 5.2IP 9H 6ER 3BB 3K, 2.56 ERA

Kolby Allard actually proved he was human tonight giving up a season high six hit, on a season high nine hits - despite being spotted a 3-0 lead in the first, and then 6-2 over the first two innings. He left in the sixth with two runners on and was replaced by Chad Sobotka who contributed 1.1 hit-less innings. Rex Brothers then had another perfect inning - giving up zero hits and striking out two. Through six appearances Rex Brothers has yet to yield a hit while striking out 12 over six innings. With the game tied 6-6 in the ninth inning, a throwing error by Travis Demeritte with the bases loaded allowed Jackson to grab the 7-6 walk off win.

Offensively, Mississippi got off to a great start with a Jared James lead off triple, who then came in to score following Ronald Acuña reaching on error by the second baseman. A Levi Hyams double then scored Acuña to put Mississippi up 2-0. They then extended that lead courtesy of a Kade Scivicque ground out, which brought in Joey Meneses who had singled earlier in the game. Mississippi then extended that lead to 6-2 after Ronald Acuña hit his fourth homerun - scoring three runs and putting Mississippi 6-2. Unfortunately, they were then kept in check for the final seven innings - scoring 0 runs over the final seven innings.

(22-32) Florida FireFrogs 3, (30-24) Clearwater Threshers 7

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 0-for-4, .257/.316/.416
  • Braxton Davidson, DH: 1-for-3, RBI, .216/.360/.333
  • Matt Gonzalez, LF: 1-for-3, BB, .312/.369/.338

The hellacious skid for the Firefrogs continued in another loss to Clearwater. Ever since the Acuña promotion the team has hit an extreme rough patch. They fell behind early, with Enderson Franco giving up runs in the first two innings. Florida got on the board with a Braxton Davidson sacrifice fly which scored Matt Gonzalez who had walked earlier in the inning to close the gap to 2-1. But Clearwater countered that with a grand slam by Wilson Garcia in the bottom half of the inning to make it 6-1 through 3. Florida added a run in the fifth and the ninth but the grand slam was too much for them to overcome as they dropped this one 7-3. The Florida offense went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and stranded seven on base.

Carlos Castro, returning from a horrific hit by pitch (hit him in the face), went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts but is still one of the lone bright spots for Florida as he is still OPSing .893 on the season with a 167 wRC+, however what is most impressive about his season is his .377 OBP despite a comically low 3.1% BB%. Austin Riley went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is in a dry spell having gone 1-for-13 over his last four games with eight strikeouts. It’s been a very up and down season for Austin as he has a 113 wRC+, and the walk rate has dipped to 6.8% but he’s always been a very good second-half player. Also of note, 8 players on this roster made the FSL All-Star game.

(24-26) West Virginia Power 4, (31-23) Rome Braves 5

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 3-for-4, 2R, .295/.351/.363
  • Brett Cumberland, DH: 1-for-4, 3B, RBI, .276/.453/.575
  • Lucas Herbert, C: 0-for-3, .195/.290/.352
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 6.0IP, 7H 4ER 1BB 5K, 2.36 ERA

FINALLY, A WIN TO TALK ABOUT. Rome got off to a fast start as the legend of Randy Ventura continued to shine leading off the game for Rome with a triple, he then scored on a Marcus Mooney sacrifice fly to put Rome up 1-0. Randy Ventura is now hitting .335/.376/.372 and is now being featured on Baseball America (seriously, go and check it out) a big change since he took over the Talking Chop recaps with his seemingly 400 steals a game exploits. The lead stuck, and Bryse was dealing, until the fourth inning when West Virginia strung five hits to score four runs. While it is unusual for Bryse to give up four runs, it’s the most he’s given up this year in a start, the strangest thing was West Virginia shortstop Adrian Valerio switching over to hit right handed against Bryse (RHP) despite being a switch hitter, and then was taken out soon after due to a head injury. If anyone has any information on this sequence of events I would love to know more about it. With that aside, Bryse settled back in giving up just one single the rest of the way. Tucker Davidson then came in and kept shorted out the Power (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) the rest of the way (3.0IP 2H 0R 0BB 2K).

Offensively, following the Ventura triple to start things off, Rome was being held in check until the fourth when they strung together three singles and scored one run to make the game 4-2. They then exploded four three runs in the eighth, highlighted by a Brett Cumberland triple, to go on top 5-4. With that triple, Cumberland is now hitting .404/.492/.923 over his last 14 games, and OPSing 1.028 over the season. Cristian Pache is on a hot streak of his own hitting .349/.402/.415 over his last 25 games, and is now hitting .295/.351/.363 on the season along with 13 stolen bases.