It was a busy Thursday night on the Atlanta Braves farm. Due to Opening Day rainouts, we were treated to a pair of doubleheaders for a total of six games. Would Mississippi find its way into the win column? Would Rome continue its undefeated start?
The Braves affiliates went 3-3 on Thursday. Sit back, relax and enjoy your Friday Braves minor league recap to see how it all went down last night.
Gwinnett Stripers (2-1) 4, Charlotte Knights (1-1) 0
- Bryce Wilson, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
- Jesse Chavez, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K
- Sean Newcomb, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K
- Orlando Arcia, SS: 2-for-5, 1 RBI
- Ryan Goins, 2B: 2-for-3, 1 RBI
- Carlos Martinez, C: 2-for-4, 1 R
This was the much needed strong start Wilson needed. He was super sharp through the first three, allowing just one double. He looked like he was getting himself into trouble with back-to-back singles to start off the fourth but came firing back with consecutive strikeouts to end the threat. The Stripers pitching staff didn’t seem to have much trouble at all on Thursday. Chavez, Nate Jones and Newcomb combined to go four hitless innings, walking just one and striking out eight to close out the shutout.
Drew Waters had a rough night, striking out in four of his five plate appearances. Fortunately, the one time he put it in play, it started the scoring in the third and turned out to be the winning RBI. Arcia followed with an RBI single and the Stripers were up 2-0 in the third. Ender Inciarte returned to action as well, going 1-for-2 with a run scored before being lifted for Travis Demeritte.
Mississippi Braves (0-3) vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (3-0)
Let’s play two!
Game 1: Pensacola 5, M-Braves 1
- Nolan Kingham, SP: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 6 K
- Jake Higginbotham, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K
- Greyson Jenista, 1B: 1-for-3, 1 HR
Kingham certainly wasn’t at his best in this game, but his stuff looked good minus the disastrous fifth inning when he couldn’t record an out. He was able to get out of trouble in the second, and had some nice strikeouts, including a pair against the Marlins top offensive prospect in J.J. Bleday. Kingham came undone in the fifth when he went single, walk, double and home run to put the Blue Wahoos ahead for good. On a positive note, Higginbotham came in and was strong in two perfect innings striking out three.
The lone run was scored on a blast from Greyson Jenista, something many Braves’ faithful are hoping to see more of this season. DII baseball alum Justin Dean out of Lenoir-Rhyne recorded the M-Braves only other hit on the evening.
Game 2: Pensacola 6, Mississippi 1
- Mitch Stallings, SP: 3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K
- Josh Graham, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K
- Trey Harris, RF: 1-for-3, 1 RBI
This was a tale of two Mitch Stallings, and I may be the one to blame. Stallings came out hot, retiring the first eight batters, clearly keeping batters on edge while mixing up his fastball and change. He struck out five and although he lost a bit of his command to end the third he still looked solid. That’s when I mentioned to the Talking Chop minor league team that Stallings has become un-hittable, and that’s when the wheels fell off. Stallings allowed four-straight hits and a walk to start the fourth and was pulled before recording an out.
At the plate, it was a mirror image of game one as the M-Braves were only able to muster two hits. Trey Harris took one the other way for a single in the fourth to breakup the no-hitter and later drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. Greyson Jenista added another hit to his early season resume and picked up a walk in the ninth.
Rome Braves (3-0) 5, Winston-Salem Dash (0-3) 2
- Ricky DeVito, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
- Coleman Huntley, RP: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K
- Trey Riley, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
- Andrew Moritz, LF: 2-for-5, 2 RBI
- Riley Delgado, 3B: 2-for-5, 1 RBI
- Beau Phillip, SS: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI
They’re alive! The Rome Braves bats have come out on fire, but tonight was the first dominant, shutdown pitching they’ve seen this season. DeVito was sharp in his ‘21 debut. Per our own Garrett Spain, DeVito forced 14 swings and misses tonight and a 37.8% whiff rate. His fastball was working, but was also his most used pitch.
He works a tad bit on the slow side, so it sometimes feels he’s throwing an excessive amount of pitches — which he can sometimes do as he struggles with command — but on this night, he land 45 of his 68 pitches for strikes. Coleman Huntley, out of DII Point Loma, tossed three innings of one run ball and got the win, while Riley earned the save. Riley throwing strikes was something we were excited to see — as well as his new mane. He struck out the final batter he faced, throwing just seven pitches, six of which were strikes.
Trailing by one in the sixth, the Rome bats did what they have done thus far: manufacture runs with timely hitting. Riley Delgado tied the game on a single in the sixth, but the Braves piled on four in the seventh. A Beau Phillip double, a wild pitch, and a Moritz 2-RBI single put the Braves ahead for good. Through three games, Rome is hitting .300 with a .395 on-base percentage and a High-A East best 24 runs on just two home runs.
Augusta GreenJackets (2-1) vs. Columbia Fireflies (1-2)
Two more in Augusta!
Game 1: Augusta 1, Columbia 0
- Darius Vines, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 K
- Kenny Wells, RP: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K
- Drew Campbell, RF: 1-for-4, 1 RBI
As the score reflects, this one was a pitcher’s duel that ended in walk-off fashion. Vines came out strong in the first, and after allowing two batters to reach, struck out the last two batters in the frame. He struck out two more in the second and got through four innings unscathed, with a nearly even fly ball to ground ball ratio (4:3). He’s an interesting one. He sat low 90s with his fastball and had a nice curve among a couple other off-speed offerings. Worth following how he performs as he gets more stretched out.
Kenny Wells — a DII baseball alum out of Seton Hill — sat down all seven batters he faced, including a dominant striking out of the side in the sixth. Justin Yeager took the bump for the final two outs and was credited with the win after Drew Campbell’s heroics.
The GreenJackets bats were held in check, not getting a hit until Cam Shepherd’s single in the third inning. Things got busy in the bottom of the seventh, though, when two-straight walks and a HBP loaded the bases. Eventually, Drew Campbell came through and delivered the winning single, scoring Cade Brunell.
Game 2: Columbia 5, Augusta 0
- Tyler Owens, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K
- Zach Seipel, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
- Javier Valdez, C: 1-for-2
Tyler Owens, he of high-90s and the occasional triple-digit heat, started this one and looked fantastic through two. He had his pitches working and after a leadoff double was erased on a nifty caught stealing by catcher Javier Valdez, Owens punched out the side, striking out the next two. Including this one:
Owens didn’t have much time to show off, getting pulled after just one batter — who came around to score — in the third. However, we here are very excited about him. He doesn’t have your typical pitcher’s build, listed at just 5’10 and thick in the lower body, which is probably where he gets his power for his fastball from. He showed that he has a solid second pitch in that slider and we’ll have to see how the change developed during the layoff as he throws more innings. Albeit brief, this was a good way to kick things off.
Former DII player Zach Seipel, out of Minnesota Crookston, was also sharp in closing out the game. He went two scoreless innings, walking none and striking out four.
Offensively, well, there just isn’t much to report. Valdez had a solid game throwing out a runner and recording a hit. It was the only hit of the night for Augusta until Willie Carter hit a double down the right field line in the final inning.