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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Bryce Ball homers

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Michael Harris just keeps hitting while Bryce Ball homered as he tried to get his season back on track.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Atlanta Braves Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves farm affiliates split their games 2-2 on Friday evening thanks to a late inning collapse by the Augusta bullpen. There were notable performances from some of the usual suspects like Michael Harris, Jesse Franklin, and Braden Shewmake plus strong showings from some lesser known names. Here is the recap...

Gwinnett Stripers 2, Norfolk Tides 6

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, CF: 0-4, BB, 3 K, .728 OPS
  • Johan Camargo, 1B: 1-4, 2B, RBI, .916 OPS
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.70 ERA
  • Yoan Lopez, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3.86 ERA

It wasn’t a particularly great night for fans of the Stripers as Bryse Wilson gave up three home runs and Gwinnett’s depleted roster could not keep up in what was ultimately a 6-2 loss. The month of June has not served Bryse well as he has given up four or more earned runs in four of the five starts he has now made in the month between Triple-A and the majors. This was a particularly tough one because not only was he getting hit hard, but his command continued to show signs of faltering. In short, not great. Yoan Lopez got him out of the sixth inning and then exited in the seventh with a couple runners on only to have Jesse Biddle allow both inherited runners to score which was an all too familiar feeling.

There was very little in the way of offense for Gwinnett. With Cristian Pache out of the lineup again and Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte trying to help the Braves hold the line in the majors, the margin for error for the Stripers’ offense is quite small. Drew Waters did draw a walk, but he also struck out three times and is now hitless in his last five games. Orlando Arcia continued his good work by reaching base a couple times and old friend Johan Camargo had an RBI double early in the game. but by the later innings, there was nothing resembling offensive momentum for Gwinnett and the Stripers went quietly.

Mississippi Braves 4, Tennessee Smokies 3

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2B, .558 OPS
  • Carlos Martinez, C: 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
  • Hayden Deal, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.02 ERA
  • Daysbel Hernandez, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 5.11 ERA

Hayden Deal was dealing on Friday evening and despite Daysbel’s best attempts to let Tennessee back into the game, a big game from Carlos Martinez including a walk-off solo homer secured Mississippi a 4-3 win. He doesn’t get the press that some of his pitching prospect colleagues do, but Hayden Deal is quietly putting together a nice season as he has now allowed two earned runs or less in his last six starts in Double-A with his cutter looking particularly effective of late. Will Latcham allowed a run to score in his inning of relief to let the Smokies get within one and after a clean inning from Chris Nunn, this got a lot more “interesting” in the top of the 9th as Daysbel Hernandez had one of those days and he allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base and the game was suddenly tied with no outs and runners on. After a strikeout, a wild pitch put another runner in scoring position and a walk loaded the bases...but fortunately Daysbel was able to get a pair of force outs to end the inning.

On offense, the star of the show was Carlos Martinez who had a three hit night with a pair of doubles to go along with his walk-off solo shot. Martinez was recently moved down to Mississippi from Gwinnett after seeing scant playing time up there and he did the most with the opportunity he got with Shea Langeliers getting the night off. Braden Shewmake had a double and a pair of RBI in the game and has now hit safely in six of his last eight games. Braden now has his June OPS up to .760 which is miles better than how May went for him. That pretty much accounted for the entirety of the Braves’ offense as the rest of the lineup went a combined 3-22 with some walks sprinkled in, but it was just enough to get a win. For those wondering, the recently hot Trey Harris got the night off along with Langeliers.

Rome Braves 3, Aberdeen Ironbirds 2

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 2-4, RBI, .816 OPS
  • Bryce Ball, 1B: 1-4, HR, .718 OPS
  • Jesse Franklin V, DH: 1-4, 2B, SB, .867 OPS
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 5.05 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0.86 ERA

Alan Rangel had a dominant start for the Rome Braves and Bryce Ball backed him up with his fourth home run of the year as Rome rallied in the eighth inning to snag a 3-2 win. Rangel’s status as a Rome roster fixture is a meme at this point, but the guy pitched his brains out for the Braves on Friday evening as he struck out nine in his six innings of work. The ERA isn’t great and some of his starts can be ugly, but it is worth noting that the guy has struck out 49 batters in 35.2 innings of work this season. Aberdeen was able to take the lead thanks to Beau Philip’s 15th error this season, but Indigo Diaz did Indigo Diaz things to lock down the ninth inning after Rome rallied to secure the win. After this appearance, Diaz lowered his season ERA to 0.86 and has 44 strikeouts against just six walks in 21 innings of work (14 appearances) this season.

On offense, well....Michael Harris is still quite good as he had a pair of hits and an RBI in the game as he has now hit safely in seven of his past eight games. Jesse Franklin V continued his recent hot streak with a double and a stolen base while Bryce Ball connected for his fourth homer of the season which proved to be the game-winning run. That homer was also his first home run since way back on May 18th. Cody Milligan also had a nice game out of the leadoff spot with a couple of hits and a stolen base of his own.

Augusta GreenJackets 8, Charleston RiverDogs 9

Box Score

  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 2-4. 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 3 R, .712 OPS
  • Braulio Vasquez, DH: 2-4, BB, SB (27), .642 OPS
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 1-5, 3B, R, .482 OPS
  • Jared Johnson, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 4.66 ERA

Well, the GreenJackets looked like they were in line for a nice and easy win on Friday night, but the bullpen completely imploded in the bottom of the ninth as two pitchers (Kenny Wells and Zach Seipel) combined to get just one out and give up six runs as Augusta lost by the score of 9-8. Jared Johnson got the start and looked largely good in his four innings of work. The fastball continued to jump out of his hand, although we do wish it had some more movement on it as it is pretty straight a good chunk of the time. The bullpen combined to give up eight runs the rest of the way and, well, we just are going to try to forget that that happened.

On offense, have a night, Bryson Horne. Horne connected for a pair of home runs to help Augusta build their early lead. Willie Carter had another multi-hit game in addition to stealing a base while Braulio Vasquez add a couple hits of his own as well as stealing his 27th base of the season. The moral of the story here: Braulio loves to run. Stephen Paolini added an RBI triple and plated three runs in the top of the ninth as an error in left cleared the bases. Unfortunately, all of that good news on offense was undone by...less than good news from the bullpen.