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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Drew Lugbauer continues hot hitting with a homer, Bryse Wilson pitches well for Gwinnett

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A weird night down on the farm ultimately resulted in Braves affiliates going 3-1.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves’ minor league affiliates nearly swept all for games, but sadly Augusta lost a close one late to prevent them from running the table. Interesting night as it saw some of the usual suspects struggle while some unsung players came through in the clutch. Lets get to the games.

Gwinnett Stripers 8, Memphis Redbirds 2 - F/6

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, CF: 1-3, BB, 2 R, .790 OPS
  • Orlando Arcia, SS: 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1.090 OPS
  • Jason Kipnis, 2B: 2-3, HR, BB, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1.238 OPS
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 3.18 ERA

Bryse Wilson put together a good start as he awaits his next opportunity in Atlanta and the Gwinnett offense broke out again as they rolled to an 8-2 victory in Friday’s rain-shortened contest. Things could have gotten out of hand for Wilson early as he gave up some baserunners in addition to a home run in the third inning. However, he settled in nicely and ended up being the only pitcher Gwinnett used on Friday before the game was called due to the weather. He was at 97 pitches through six innings, so its likely his night was done anyways.

The offense certainly did their job as an early 2-0 deficit was erased when Jason Kipnis connected for his first home run of the season in the bottom half of the third inning. He has only played in three games so far this season, so it was nice to see him with a good one on Friday. Orlando Arcia had another strong game with three hits including a pair of doubles as he has successfully kept his OPS north of 1.000 through the month of May. Alex Jackson added another home run after his three homer game the other night as he looks to re-establish himself after an injury ended his time (at least so far) as the Braves’ backup catcher. Its also pretty clear that Drew Waters is really working on refining his approach at the plate as he worked deep counts in nearly all of his at-bats. He isn’t impacting the ball as much as we would like, but its good to see that he is putting in the work to try and improve his patience at the plate.

Next Game: 5/29 vs. Memphis at 6:05 PM EST. Probable Starters - Both TBD

Mississippi Braves 10, Montgomery Biscuits 6

Box Score

  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 3-4, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, .956 OPS
  • CJ Alexander, 3B: 2-4, R, .672 OPS
  • Trey Harris, RF: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB, 3 R, .625 OPS
  • Odalvi Javier, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.76 ERA
  • Troy Bacon, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Mississippi took the lead early thanks to a Drew Lugbauer home run and then kept their foot on the gas late in route to a 10-6 victory. Odalvi Javier took the mound for Mississippi and while he has had his problems with walks so far this season, his start on Friday was legitimately very good as he gave up just one run while striking out six in five innings of work. Overall, he has been pretty good through the first month of the season. Brandon White and Troy Bacon continued to show that they are two of the more premier relief arms that the Braves have in the minors, particularly in the upper minors with a combined three innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts. Sean McLaughlin’s stint at the end of the game turned into a full on dumpster fire in a hurry as five runs would score in the top of the ninth before Montgomery ran into an out at second base on the play that scored run number five to mercifully end the game.

On offense, it began with a Trey Harris RBI single followed by Lugbauer’s homer. Lugbauer has quietly put together a very decent start to the season with a .956 OPS which would put him nearly the top of the Southern League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. CJ Alexander had a two-hit game and has now hit safely in five of his past six games. Harris has also hit safely in five of his past six and, despite scuffling at times in the opening month of the season, is starting to look like his former self at the plate. Justin Dean had a night to forget as he went 0-4 with four strikeouts. The last three games have not been kind to him after a strong stretch of hitting before that.

Next Game: 5/29 vs. Montgomery at 7:05 PM EST. Probable Starters: Mississippi - AJ Puckett, Montgomery - TBD

Rome Braves 4, Greenville Drive 3 - F/10

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 0-4, 2 K, .845 OPS
  • Beau Philip, SS: 3-3, 2B, RBI, R, .639 OPS
  • Brett Langhorne, 1B: 1-4, RBI, R, .573 OPS
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 3.51 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 0.73 ERA

Rome really struggled, particularly on offense, for long stretches in this game, but a clutch relief appearance from Indigo Diaz and some late-inning heroics allowed the Braves to sneak away with a 4-3 win. Bryce Elder got the start for Rome and he was largely good. He pitched to contact and got a healthy number of groundballs. The command wasn’t there, but he largely made it work and gave Rome six perfectly reasonable innings. After an uneven relief appearance from Trey Riley, Indigo Diaz entered the game and he was electric as he functionally kept Rome in the game singlehandedly. He pitched the game’s final three innings and struck out a whopping eight batters including striking out FOUR batters in the 10th when a strike three got away from the catcher and he had to add another victim to his ledger.

With Michael Harris’ hitting streak ending on this evening, we were also reminded how much this Rome offense can struggle when he isn’t producing. However, Beau Philip had a strong night with three hits and got Rome on the board in the 5th with a sac fly. Cody Milligan continued his strong start to the season with an RBI double in the eighth that brought Rome within a run. Then, Greenville did their part to help the cause as a wild pitch in the same inning scored the tying run and it was free baseball time. After Diaz shut down the Greenville offense yet again, Philip got a runner into scoring position on a single thanks to the runner on second rule and Brett Langhorne, who was manning first base with Bryce Ball getting the night off, drove in the winning run with a single of his own.

Next Game: 5/29 vs. Greenville at 6 PM EST. Probable Starters: Rome - Mitch Stallings, Greenville - Brian Van Belle

Augusta GreenJackets 6, Columbia Fireflies 7

Box Score

  • Cade Bunnell, 3B: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB, .930 OPS
  • Brandon Parker, LF: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB, .596 OPS
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 2-4, BB, SB, .511 OPS
  • Darius Vines, SP: 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2.77 ERA

It wouldn’t be an Augusta game if there wasn’t some sort of drama late and thats exactly what happened here as the GreenJackets fell just short against Columbia by the score of 7-6. Darius Vines got the start for Augusta and was very clearly off as he barely made it through the first inning while giving up three runs in the process. He was removed after that although we don’t know that was because of his struggles or because something else was going on. Each of the four relievers that Augusta brought in after that gave up a run which is not exactly what you want when you are starting in a 3-0 hole.

On offense, Cade Bunnell did work out of the leadoff spot with his fourth homer of the season while also driving in half of Augusta’s six runs on the evening. It appears that Braulio Vasquez is contractually obligated to steal a base every night and Friday night was no exception as he got No. 17 for the season in addition to getting a pair of hits. Its not really a secret that Stephen Paolini has really struggled for most of the first month of the season, so its worth mentioning that he has back to back multi-hit games as he hopes to turn things around.

Next Game: 5/29 @ Columbia at 6:35 PM EST. Probable Starters: Augusta - TBD, Columbia - Matt Stil