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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Austin Riley Goes Deep

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Austin Riley kept up his hot start at the plate with a home run, while Joey Wentz fired 6 scoreless innings for Florida

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-All Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

(10-17) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (14-12) Indianapolis Indians 4

Box Score

Phil Gosselin, 2B: 1-3, BB, RBI, .250/.400/.250

Carlos Franco, 1B: 1-4, 2B, RBI, .275/.328/.468333

Miguel Socovolich, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5.11 ERA

The Gwinnett offense was of little interest in this game, but the early pitching for the Stripers gave them a chance to win this game. The Stripers took the lead in the top of the third inning when Peter Bourjos got a rally started with a 2 out triple and was then singled home by Phil Gosselin. Little happened for the offense until the 8th inning, when Gosselin led off the inning with a walk. A line drive from Sean Kazmar that was caught by Austin Meadows allowed Gosselin to advance to second when Meadows, injured on the dive, couldn’t get the ball back to the infield in time. Carlos Franco followed Kazmar with a single that scored Gosselin, giving Gwinnett the lead once again. Indianapolis then put up three runs in the bottom of the inning, and the Stripers couldn’t put up anything in the 9th and fell 4-2.

Scheduled starter Lucas Sims was called up a few hours before game time and it left Miguel Socolovich in his place for a spot start. Socolovich filled in admirably, firing three scoreless innings and leaving the Stripers with a lead. Philip Pfeifer came in to replace Socolovich in the 4th inning and gave the lead up quickly, allowing two walks and two hits in the 4th inning that allowed Indianapolis’s first run to score. Pfeifer settled down and was able to pitch two scoreless innings after that rough fourth inning, and he gave the game over to Rex Brothers. Brothers pitched a perfect 7th inning, but after being given a lead struggled in the 8th. Brothers allowed 2 doubled that tied the game up, and then walked a batter and hit another to load the bases. Jason Hursh came in to replace Brothers, and walked the first batter he faced, forcing in a run and giving the Indians the lead. Hursh was able to get a 6-4-5 double play to end the inning, but a run was able to score on the play and Indianapolis took a 4-2 lead.

Next Game: 5/6 @ (14-12) Indianapolis Indians @ 1:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Matt Wisler (0-1, 4.00 ERA)

IND: Clay Holmes (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

(13-16) Mississippi Braves 7, (12-17) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 2-3, 2B, HR, BB, HBP, 2 RBI, .333/.394/.677

Jonathan Morales, C: 2-4, .245/.322/.321

Travis Demeritte, LF: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .217/.323/.373

Wes Parsons, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1.61 ERA

The Austin Riley train kept rolling in Pensacola, as he led the way on offense with 2 extra base hits. The Braves offense struggled to figure it out in the early innings and only had 2 hits after 3, but the ball got rolling in the 4th when Alay Lago led off with a single. Riley drove him in with a double, giving Mississippi a lead, and then Travis Demeritte brought in RIley with a single. Tyler Marlette knocked in the third run of the inning with a ground rule double, and then pitcher Wes Parsons came through for himself with a 2 run double to cap off a 5 run fourth inning. One inning later, Austin Riley crushed a home run into the bay, his sixth of the season, stretching Mississippi’s lead to six. Riley was hit by a pitch and intentionally walked in his next two plate appearances, pushing his line against Pensacola to .500/.564/1.029 on the season in 39 plate appearances, and .408/.475/.859 in 80 plate appearances dating back to last season. Luis Valenzuela doubled in Mississippi’s seventh and final run of the game in the sixth inning.

In addition to his two hits at the plate Wes Parsons also starred on the mound for Pensacola, shutting the Blue Wahoos down and giving the MBraves their second straight scoreless start. Parsons kept the ball on the ground, forcing 10 ground balls in the game, and went 98 pitches deep in the game. Devan Watts replaced Parsons in the game and pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Watts has seen a drastic drop in his strikeouts this season, but has balanced that a bit with improved walk rates. Kelvin Vasquez finished off the game and allowed the only run of the game by a Braves pitcher. He struck out four batters in his two innings of work, which was one more than the three strikeouts he had in his previous 10 13 innings

Next Game: 5/6 @ (12-17) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 2:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Enderson Franco (1-2, 3.68 ERA)

PNS: Wyatt Strahan (3-2, 5.48 ERA)

(11-18) Florida Fire Frogs 3, (16-13) Tampa Tarpons 0

Box Score

Braxton Davidson, DH: 1-3, 2B, .120/.219/.261

Garrison Schwartz, RF: 3-4, RBI, .333/.412/.400

Brett Cumberland, C: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .236/.364/.427

Joey Wentz, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2.33 ERA

A three run third inning was all it took for Florida to take the win in this one, as Joey Wentz and the rest of the pitching staff blanked the Tarpons. With two outs in the third the Fire Frogs got their rally started, with Shean Michel and Ray-Patrick Didder walking back-to-back to bring up the middle of the Fire Frogs daunting lineup. Brett Cumberland came through with the big hit of the game, knocking a 2 run double that gave the Fire Frogs the lead. Garrison Schwartz, who had half of the Fire Frogs six hits in the game, extended the lead with an RBI single that scored Cumbo. Braxton Davidson popped out to end the inning with Alejandro Salazar and Schwartz on second and third. Shean Michel is an interesting prospect, as he’s a bit off and on at the plate but is a guy who doesn’t strike out much and runs well. He’s not going to make anyone’s mouth water in anticipation, but he has a solid chance to eventually carve out a bench role if he can maintain his ability to walk at a reasonable rate and put the ball in play.

Joey Wentz wasn’t classic Wentz in getting this shutout, and really hasn’t been with 7 strikeouts to 11 walks in 13 innings pitched over his last 3 starts. Wentz never really got into trouble early in this game and never gave up solid contact, but in the sixth inning a couple of two out walks loaded the bases for the Tarpons. Wentz made his pitch to get a ground out to end the inning, finishing a shutout start for him. Mauricio Cabrera came in to relieve Wentz and **checks notes** walked zero batters. Zero. Mauricio pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout, and both of his other walks were ground ball outs. Connor Johnstone got a two inning save with 2 scoreless, hitless innings. Johnstone has limited opponents to a .161 batting average since his call up and has a 2.08 ERA.

Next Game: 5/6 vs (16-13) Tampa Tarpons @ 11:00 AM ET

Probable Starters

FLO: Ian Anderson (0-2, 5.21 ERA)

TAM: Albert Abreu (0-0, 2.45 ERA)

(17-11) Rome Braves 6, (9-18) Asheville Tourists 3

Box Score

Derian Cruz, 2B: 3-5, 3B, RBI, .227/.279/.371

Jefrey Ramos, LF: 1-3, 2B, BB, RBI, .234/.284/.330

Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B: 2-4, 3 RBI, .266/.303/.362

Alan Rangel, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 4.95 ERA

Derian Cruz had 3 hits in the game, but Jean Carlos Encarnacion was the star with 3 RBIs. Down 2-0 the Braves got to work in the fourth inning with William Contreras’s one out single. An error on a Kurt Hoekstra ground ball brought up Encarnacion, and he came through with Rome’s first run of the game on a single. In the 5th inning Jefrey Ramos doubled to score Riley Delgado and tie the game at 2, and then Drew Lugbauer singled in Ramos to give Rome their first lead. Asheville tied the game back up in the top of the sixth inning until Justin Smith doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning and then scored on Derian Cruz’s triple. The Braves pushed the lead to 6-3 in the seventh inning with JCE’s two run single. William Contreras had a hit and a hit by pitch, and now is batting .279/.367/.442 since being called up. Contreras is striking out less than 20% of the time.

Alan Rangel put up a solid start with 2 runs allowed in his 5 innings of work, and once again controlled the strike zone throughout. Rangel hasn’t allowed a walk in his last 4 outings of work, totalling 17 innings, while striking out 18 batters. Rangel had a poor start earlier this season in which he allowed 2 home runs and 2 walks right before being placed on the disabled list, but outside of that start hasn’t walked anyone or given up a home run this season. Jacob Belinda allowed a run out of the bullpen in his first inning of work, but came back for the 7th inning and kept Asheville off the scoreboard and protected the second lead he was given. Hayden Deal was phenomenal in his two innings of relief, striking out 5 batters and walking none in earning the save.

Next Game: 5/6 vs (9-18) Asheville Tourists 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Bruce Zimmermann (2-1, 2.36 ERA)

ASH: Lucas Gilbreath (2-0, 6.63 ERA)