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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Luke Waddell goes deep again

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Luke Waddell is the hottest hitter in the system, giving Rome some surprising power production

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 01 Georgia at Georgia Tech Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was an interesting day of baseball on the farm, with some solid pitching performances at ever level. Cristian Pache’s streak of good play continued with him reaching base three times for Gwinnett. The Atlanta Braves fifth round pick Luke Waddell continued his hot streak with another home run in Rome, and Augusta tried really hard and should be commended for that.

(58-43) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (54-47) Nashville Sounds 2

Box Score

  • William Contreras, C: 1-3, 2B, .310/.377/.56
  • Johan Camargo, 1B: 2-4, RBI, .304/.378/.508
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-3, BB, .262/.337/.437
  • Jose Rodriguez, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 5.27 ERA
  • Jacob Webb, RP: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3.00 ERA

This was a pitching duel for the ages, but Gwinnett’s bullpen cracked in the end and Nashville took a tough win. Cristian Pache continued his tremendous run of success at the plate, starting out with a leadoff walk in the first inning. Pache was quickly caught stealing, so while this turned into nothing of note his fourth inning at bat did for the wrong reasons. Pache floated the first pitch of the into the outfield for a base hit, and upon seeing a lazy thrown in from the left fielder decided to make a try for a double. He did not make it, and while he disagreed with the call it stood as another baserunning mistake. Orlando Arcia followed with a single that, had Pache stayed and had Arcia done the exact same thing, would have put Pache on second base. A double play ended the inning, and that play was notable in a low-scoring affair. The Stripers next had a chance when William Contreras hit a double in the fifth inning, and Contreras advanced to third on an infield single from Sean Kazmar. The next batter up Phillip Ervin hit a hard ground ball, but it was right at the second baseman and was the final out of the inning. In a game like this every out matters, and Pache’s two times being thrown out and Gwinnett’s two time grounding into double plays cost them opportunities. Pache helped the Stripers in a big way in the ninth inning by laying down a bunt to reach base with one out. He was set down on a force out from Arcia, but a wild pitch and a single from Johan Camargo scored the first run of the game for either side and swung the game in Gwinnett’s favor.

Jose Rodriguez put together a superb start for the Stripers, carrying them late into the game with a shutout performance. Rodriguez allowed a hit to the first batter he faced but followed up with a double play ball and then retired 10 more batters in a row to take them through the fourth. He got into some trouble in the fifth on a leadoff single, and then with one out an infield single had two runners on. Rodriguez got his second double play of the game, ending a threat and keeping the game tied. Rodriguez didn’t allow another hit in the game, with the only other baserunner coming on a seventh inning walk. After the seventh the Stripers turned to the bullpen and the first man out of the gate was Dylan Lee.

Lee struck out the first batter he faced but allowed a single to put the go ahead run on with one out. The next pitch was a pop up into shallow right field, but second baseman Yolmer Sanchez misplayed the ball and it dropped in. Fortunately, Travis Demeritte was there to back up and they easily threw out the runner at second for the second out. Lee ended the inning with a strikeout. With the lead in the ninth inning Gwinnett turned to their Will Smith in Jacob Webb. Webb got the first two outs with fly outs but allowed a two out single to give the Sounds a breath of life. This brought former Braves prospect Dustin Peterson to the dish. Given that information, the score you’ve already seen above, and me calling him Gwinnett’s Will Smith I think you know where this is headed. Webb got up by a 1-2 count and had Peterson making a bad swing on a changeup, but he left one changeup in the middle of the zone and destroyed a walk off home run past the seats in left field.

Next Game: 8/29 @ (54-47) Nashville Sounds @ 7:15 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: TBD

NAS: TBD

(45-55) Rome Braves 4, (69-32) Bowling Green Hot Rods 3

Box Score

  • Drew Campbell, RF: 1-4, HR, RBI, SB, .294/.294/.558
  • Jesse Franklin, CF: 0-2, 2 BB, .241/.318/.524
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, .295/.368/.557
  • Darius Vines, SP: 6 IP, 4 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 3.60 ERA
  • Justin Yeager, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.63 ERA

Luke Waddell has stayed scorching hot for the Braves in this series and delivered another critical home run in a Rome victory. Rome had quite a few runners early in the game and through three innings had drawn three walks, but they only had one hit and none with runners on base to do damage. In the fourth inning Jesse Franklin drew a leadoff walk, and this time the Braves cashed in. Waddell followed with his fifth home run of the series, an opposite field bomb to give Rome a 2-1 lead. This brought in a new pitcher, and Drew Campbell greeted him by absolutely launching the first pitch for back-to-back home runs. Beau Philip then drew Rome’s fifth walk of the game, and after a wild pitch and a steal of third base he scored the fourth run of the inning on an RBI ground out. That was it for the offense from Rome, as they only had a couple of hits in the rest of the game and didn’t ever string together anything for a rally. The most notable hit was in the sixth inning from Beau Philip, as that base hit snapped an 0-24 stretch at the plate for him.

Darius Vines had some struggles out of the gate for Rome, but quickly got into control of the game and delivered his third consecutive start of 6+ innings pitch and 2 runs allowed. The first two batters of the game did not make it seem like that would happen as a double and an RBI single scored a run before Vines recorded an out. Vines bounced back though, and got a double play from the next hitter before a strikeout ended the inning. Vines was locked in after that and retired all six batters in the second and third innings with three coming via the strikeout. He allowed hits in each the fourth and fifth inning, but in both cases was able to force timely double plays to escape. The one thing he could not escape was the home run ball and he gave up one to lead off the sixth and bring the game to 4-2. Home runs have become a real problem for Vines as he has allowed five in his last four outings and 10 overall in 60 innings at Rome. Vines struck out the next batter after that home run and then retired the side on fly outs to end six innings. Mitch Stallings pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but (I’m sorry) stalled out in the eight inning. He allowed a leadoff double and with one out an RBI single that cut the game down to 4-3 and put the tying runner on first. The next batter ripped a dangerous line drive into left field but it was right in the path of Drew Campbell who collected the second out. Stallings escaped danger and struck out the final batter of the inning. Justin Yeager was brought on to close the game in the ninth inning and was electric with two strikeouts in a perfect inning. Yeager had been fantastic since his promotion from Augusta with a 2.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 13 23 innings. Command is a problem for him, but the stuff at least has real major league potential.

Next Game: 8/29 @ (69-32) Bowling Green Hot Rods @ 3:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jake McSteen (1-3, 4.47 ERA)

BG: Taj Bradley (2-0, 3.15 ERA)

(42-59) Augusta GreenJackets 2, (70-31) Charleston RiverDogs 6

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, 2B: 0-5, .311/.404/.442
  • Landon Stephens, RF: 1-2, 2B, BB, .241/.351/.447
  • Adam Zebrowski, C: 1-4, 2B, RBI, .286/.375/.429
  • Dylan Dodd, SP: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 6.75 ERA
  • Dylan Spain, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Augusta had a few opportunities in this game to make something happen, but failed to consistently come up in big spots and lost again to the RiverDogs. A single and two walks loaded the bases in the first inning for Augusta, and with only one out they had a chance to jump out to a lead. They did not do that, instead striking out and flying out to end the inning. The GreenJackets didn’t create another opportunity until the fourth inning, at which point they trailed 3-0. This time a walk was cashed in by the Augusta bats, with Adam Zebrowski delivering an RBI single to bring them back in the game. With one out in the inning they still had room to do damage, but a pop out and a strikeout ended that dream and they settled for a single run. The next inning the GreenJackets had yet another huge opportunity, but fell just short of tying the game. A base hit from Cade Bunnell led off the inning, and with one out Bryson Horne hit a single to put two runners on base. Landon Stephens followed by ripping a double down the line in left field, but because the ball was cut off before it reached the wall Horne was not able to score to tie the game. The next two batters in the inning struck out, and the GreenJackets lost another chance for a big inning. That was all but the end for Augusta on the day, as they only had one more hit in the game and never really threatened to do serious damage.

The RiverDogs did not waste chances to put up big innings, and they rode that to the win. Dylan Dodd was phenomenal in the early going for Augusta, showing the stuff that made him their third round pick and dominating a good lineup for Low-A. Dodd allowed a single with two outs in the first inning, but after that went into a new mode and struck out six of the next seven batters he faced to take the game through three scoreless. This was where the good vibes ended, as an infield single to lead off the inning set off a chane of struggles. Dodd got a strikeout for the first out, but a base hit and a walk loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Dodd was able to get a force out for the second out of the inning, but with his pitch limit presumably being 60 he was lifted from the game for a reliever. James Acuna came in needing to get just one out to save Dodd’s start and immediately walked in a run. The next batter doubled in two runs, breaking open the game at 3-0. Acuna got a strikeout to end the inning a little bit too late. Acuna battled his control for a couple of innings, but despite three more walks and a hit batter he managed to get through six with no more runs allowed and the game now within a run. They gave Acuna the seventh inning, and it went really poorly as he allowed three earned runs and didn’t record an out. Finally, the GreenJackets turned to superstar reliever and MLB’s number one overall prospect Dylan Spain, who did his work to shut down Charleston. Spain struck out two batters in the seventh inning and pitched a scoreless 8th to extend his scoreless streak to ten innings to start his pro career. Martin Van Buren pitched the ninth inning for Augusta and struck out three batters around a hit and a walk to pitch a scoreless inning.

Next Game: 8/26 vs (-3170) Charleston Riverdogs @ 5:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: TBD

CSC: TBD