(1-1) Gwinnett Braves 6, (1-1) Charlotte Knights 9
- Drew Waters, CF: 2-5
- Orlando Arcia, SS: 1-4, HR, BB, RBI
- Johan Camargo, 1B: 1-4, HR, BB, 3 RBI
- Kyle Wright, SP: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5.40 ERA
- Jasseel De La Cruz, RP: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 13.50 ERA
- Chris Martin, RP: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
It was a struggle for Gwinnett in this one as the Charlotte hitters went off at the plate with 16 hits and the Stripers just could not keep pace. The Stripers were held in check early with only one hit through three innings and by that point had themselves facing a 4-0 deficit. Orlando Arcia led off the fourth inning and after drawing himself to a 3-1 count took an outside fastball the other way and out of the stadium to bring the Stripers to 4-1. Travis Demeritte took a walk in the inning, but a double play got him off the bases and prevented further scoring.
A leadoff walk and a Drew Waters two out base knock went to waste in the fifth inning. Charlotte took advantage to extend their lead back out to four runs. The Stripers had their biggest chance to make this a tight game in the top of the seventh inning with three hits, the final one coming from Waters, loading the bases with two outs but Ryan Goins wasn’t able to make anything happen and the Knights tacked on insurance to push the game out to 6-1. The Stripers did claw back a bit at the plate as a wild outing from a Knights reliever allowed them to load the bases in the eighth inning and pinch hitter Abraham Almonte came through with a two run single to bring the tying run to the plate in Ryan Casteel. Casteel had a couple of hits on the day but was unable to make it happen in the eighth and it turned back over to Charlotte who put up a three spot to make the lead insurmountable. Johan Camargo added on an opposite field three run home run that just snuck over the fence in right field but the Stripers were dead in the water and took their first lost of the season.
Kyle Wright had a decent start on the mound for Gwinnett, but it didn’t look like it would be that way early as despite pitching a scoreless frame in the first he only threw six strikes on fourteen pitches. He settled down after a four pitch walk with two outs and struck out the final batter. From that point on he gave up quite a few hits but wasn’t walking the world or hitting them either. Three hits in the second inning scored the game’s first run, but Wright also struck out the side in the middle of all that chaos for a BABIP fueled 1-0 deficit. Wright came out again giving up hits in the third and allowed a two run double and then another hit before getting his first out. For those counting at home, that’s six straight batted balls without recording an out. A fielder’s choice cur down the runner trying to advance on a ground ball, and a force out got Wright to two outs but a throwing error allowed an unearned run to score. Wright retired seven of the final nine batters he faced in the game and struck out four of those.
Mitch Horacek was the first man in relief and he too got hit around a bit and allowed the game’s fifth run. Jasseel De La Cruz, who is in the Stripers rotation and we assume was just getting some work in as a side session came in to pitch in relief. He looked rusty command wise but had the fastball up to 98, and a home run to Tim Beckham was the big mark on his record. Daysbel Hernandez came in to face one batter and looked good forcing a ground out and topping out at 98 mph. Chris Martin had a rehab outing in the next inning, and don’t be fooled by the two runs he allowed as both were inherited runners the next pitcher allowed to come in. Martin’s two hits allowed were balls that were hit just okay and happened to find grass and he then dominated the next two batters on the way to a couple of strikeouts. His replacement, Chasen Bradford, allowed back-to-back two run doubles to bring across three runs before he ended the inning with a ground out.
Next Game: 5/6 @ (1-1) Charlotte Knights @ 7:04 PM ET
GWN: Bryse Wilson
CLT: Mike Wright
(0-1) Mississippi Braves 1, (1-0) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-4
- Trey Harris, RF: 1-4
- Shea Langeliers, C: 0-3, BB
- Hayden Deal, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1.80 ERA
- Matt Withrow, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
After having their first attempt at opening day rained out the deep Mississippi offense came out looking a bit muddy and only managed one run in a close loss. They found themselves down two runs after the second inning and despite the pitching staff holding strong could not scratch out a hit until the fifth inning nor enough spark to come back and tie the game. Their real “big inning” came in the sixth inning as Jalen Miller crushed a home run 104 mph off the bat for a home run to bring the game to 2-1. Justin Dean followed that with a single, but after a force out it was Braden Shewmake on first base. A strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play ended the inning and the Braves wouldn’t threaten again until the ninth. In that ninth, they put together a last second rally as Trey Harris got a base hit and Shea Langeliers walked but a ground out ended the game disappointingly with a loss.
Braden Shewmake didn’t do much at the plate in the way of anything at all, but defensively he had some marvelous plays early on at shortstop. He and Jalen Miller both looked in sync and fresh up the middle, and Shewmake made a fantastic play in the hole to get an out. Trey Harris looked good at the plate with a hit and another hard hit ball that the right fielder made a good play on, but he also had an adventurous outing in right field that led to a run being scored that ultimately proved key in the game.
That run came at the expense of Hayden Deal, who looked a bit rusty but overall impressed with his stuff in flashes. He had a few great breaking balls to get strike outs and limited hard contact overall in allowing only one earned run over five innings. We say one earned run, because the first batter of the season lifted a ball into right field that Trey Harris misplayed quite horribly and allowed the runner to reach third. The next batter blooped a single in to score an unearned run and Mississippi never caught up. Overall, I was impressed with how Deal looked after the long layoff and can’t wait to see him once he hones in his command a bit more as he did leave some pitches over the plate through game. Troy Bacon pitched a scoreless inning in relief, and despite not getting a ton of attention he is a legitimate middle relief prospect to watch in Mississippi. Matt Withrow was the star for the Braves pitching staff, as despite a couple of walks he was absolutely brilliant on the mound. His first five outs all came on strike outs, and the final came as Shea Langeliers threw a laser to second base to catch a runner on that final strikeout. Withrow struggled with his control a bit, but he is understandably a bit rusty and will hopefully line that up soon. Sean McLaughlin was the final Braves pitcher of the game and needed eleven pitches to get through a scoreless eighth inning.
Next Game: 5/6 vs (1-0) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 6:35 PM ET
MIS: Nolan Kingham
PNS: Jake Eder
(2-0) Rome Braves 8, (0-2) Winston-Salem Dash 7
- Michael Harris II, LF: 1-5, RBI
- Bryce Ball, 1B: 1-3, HR, 2 BB, RBI
- Logan Brown, C: 2-3, Grand Slam, 2 BB, 4 RBI
- Tanner Gordon, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 9.00 ERA
- AJ Puckett, RP: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2.70 ERA
Rome’s five run sixth inning was key in a comeback win as their offense overcame some pitching struggles to start out 2-0 on the season. Rome got out to a lead in the first inning with the help of the Dash pitcher, as three walks loaded the bases and a wild pitch scored the first run. Kevin Josephina tripled and scored in the second inning to make it 2-0 and it seemed Rome was once again off to the races, but they left two runners stranded and the Dash put up a five spot in the bottom of the inning. Rome fell further behind in the game to 6-2 before Bryce Ball crushed a home run to bring it back to a three run game. Michael Harris singled to score Cody Milligan, who is off to a blazing start in his first two games, and a Bryce Ball walk loaded them up for catcher Logan Brown. Brown saw one pitch in the at bat and he rocketed a ball up onto the concourse in left field for a grand slam that gave Rome a lead they would not relinquish. Cody Milligan has consecutive three hit games out of the nine spot for Rome, going 3-4 in both with all six hits being singles. Beau Philip and Jesse Franklin both struggled some at the plate in this game with both going 0-5.
Tanner Gordon struggled out there a bit early, with two quick walks to the first two batters he faced. He bounced back with two strikeouts and Logan Brown caught a runner stealing to end the inning, but the bad times were just getting started. A key error by Riley Delgado put an extra runner on base with one out, and that immediately came back to bite the Braves as the next batter hit a three run home run. After another walk Gordon allowed his second home run of the inning before getting a strikeout to end the inning. Lisandro Santos was the first reliever of the day for the Braves and despite the raw stuff looking good he could not find the strike zone and walked four batters to score a run. Gabriel Noguera held it down for an inning and a third scoreless and struck out three batters to turn it over to AJ Puckett in long relief. Puckett was solid in his first two innings, though he started to tire a bit and struggled in his third with a couple of walks and two hits that scored a run. Still, he was able to hold on to the Braves lead by getting a strike out and a fly out to strand the bases loaded. Zach Daniels closed out the game by retiring all five batters he faced and striking out two.
Next Game: 5/6 @ (0-2) Winston-Salem Dash 7:00 PM ET
ROM: Ricky DeVito
(1-0) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (0-1) Columbia Fireflies 1
- Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 1-5, R
- Stephen Paolini, CF: 0-2, BB, HBP, R
- Landon Stephens, DH: 3-4, RBI, 2 2B, 3 R
- Alex Barger, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA
- Ben Thompson, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Augusta was dominant in every facet of the game, trouncing the Fireflies 8-1 on opening day and allowing only one hit. The game didn’t get off to a hot start as they fell behind by a run early and then the offense was set down in order on strikes. That all changed in the second inning as Brandon Parker and Landon Stephens led off the inning with a couple of hits to put two runners on. A passed ball scored the first run to tie the game, and then Ricardo Rodriguez ripped a double into the corner to give Augusta a lead they would never relinquish. Stephens added on a run scoring double in the third inning and Bryson Horne followed him up with a two run double that put the game out to 5-1. The GreenJackets were quiet until the sixth when a Cade Bunnell home run scored two more runs and then leadoff hitter Drew Campbell tripled to score Rodriguez for the eighth run of the day for Augusta.
This Augusta roster has quite a bit of pop in it, and it will be a lot different from the typical Low-A team the Braves run out there. They also have quite a bit of swing and miss, as every starter struck out at least once in todays game, three of them struck out three or more times, and in total 18 of the 23 outs made at the plate came on strikeouts. Stephen Paolini made his full season debut, and despite not factoring much into the game offensively he played a really good center field. Ricardo Rodriguez is a talented bat behind the plate but struggles to find any consistency. His double today was mashed and hopefully he can improve on prior seasons and begin to realize his potential a bit.
Alec Barger really struggled out of the gate for Augusta on the mound. He walked two of the first three batters he faced and then allowed a base hit to score the game’s first run in the top of the first. After that, he settled in quite nicely and he went 1-2-3 in the second inning with a couple of strikeouts. Barger retired seven consecutive batters until the fourth inning when he once again lost control a bit and walked the first two batters of the inning. He bounced back though, and with a strikeout and then a couple of batted balls that found gloves he was able to escape his first start with a lead and only one run and hit allowed. Brent Burgess walked the first batter he saw in his relief outing, then just went on to sit down the next nine guys in order and strike out four of them. Ben Thompson was the final pitcher in relief, and he retired all six batters he faced and struck out the side in order in the bottom of the ninth. In total the GreenJackets retired their final fifteen batters faced in the game.
Next Game: 5/6 vs (0-1) Columbia Fireflies @ 5:05 PM ET