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Braves Minor League Recap: William Contreras homers, Mississippi continues to roll

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Contreras had three hits for the Stripers while Kyle Muller and Bryse Wilson shut down Charlotte.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It was a strong day across the farm system for Atlanta Braves prospects, with a few delivering big hits and home runs. Gwinnett rolled thanks to offensive showcases from Alex Jackson and William Contreras, while Kyle Muller and Bryse Wilson led a dominant pitching performance. Mississippi won for the eight time in their past nine games with star reliever Indigo Diaz getting a promotion to join the Braves staff. Jesse Franklin did his thing again with another home run and Vaughn Grissom made a return to Augusta with a big game.

(28-34) Gwinnett Stripers 11, (25-35) Charlotte Knights 1

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-5, RBI, .250/.310/.388
  • Drew Waters, LF: 1-5, 2B, RBI, .259/.349/.413
  • William Contreras, C: 3-5, HR, 2 RBI, .412/.474/.706
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.92 ERA
  • Bryse Wilson, RP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.23 ERA

The Stripers put on a show in the first inning and they crushed again late, dropping eleven runs on Charlotte in a blowout win. Cristian Pache started the rally in the first with a base hit then was brought home by Jason Kipnis on a double for the game’s first run. Alex Jackson followed with a towering home run to the opposite field to put Gwinnett up 3-0, and William Contreras made it back to back jacks as he took the first pitch he saw to nearly the same place. Charlotte’s pitcher then went the next 4 ⅔ innings without allowing a hit before turning it over to the bullpen. The first man out was immediately met by a Jason Kipnis hit then after hitting Jackson it was Contreras doing damage with an RBI single. A wild pitch scored Jackson from third and Phillip Ervin doubled to bring home the seventh run. Jason Kipnis stayed hot in the seventh with his third hit of the day, this time a solo home run. Just for good measure Ervin led off in the eights with a solo home run, and Yolmer Sanchez came behind him with a single. Drew Waters had been dominated all day with four strikeouts in four plate appearances, but he ripped a double here to score Sanchez and then came in on Pache’s second base hit of the day.

Gwinnett’s pitching staff blanked the Knights for the majority of the game, with Kyle Muller shutting them down on the mound. Muller wasn’t at his sharpest and had to labor a bit in the early innings, and he was pulled after four innings and just 71 pitches in what seems to be a move to make sure he is fresh for his return to Atlanta. Regardless, he was effective when needed. He walked the first batter of the game, but only walked one more after that. He got into trouble in the second inning when he allowed a leadoff hit and a walk, but he bounced back to immediately get two strikeouts and then a pop out to the catcher to escape unscathed. The only other runner to reach was on a fielding error in the fourth inning and he had no problems working out of that as well and finished off his start with a strikeout. This brought in Bryse Wilson, and this seemed like it might be intriguing, but it was not a point to future moves and basically a full start for Bryse as he pitched five innings. Each of the first three hits he allowed were erased on double plays and despite his lack of strikeouts he held it down with a plethora of ground balls and weak contact. The first four innings he pitched were all scoreless innings, then Charlotte finally broke through in the ninth as Yermin Mercedes doubled to lead off the inning and was able to come around on a fly out and RBI groundout. That was it for Bryse, who needed only 45 pitches to get through five innings and did not allow a walk.

Next Game: 7/15 @ (25-35) Charlotte Knights @ 7:04 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: TBD

CLT: Jonathan Stiever (3-4, 5.76 ERA)

(39-23) Mississippi Braves 5, (24-34) Tennessee Smokies 3

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-5, BB, SB, .252/.371/.371
  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI, .272/.345/.366
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI, .254/.348/.525
  • Odalvi Javier, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.15 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA

Mississippi has been one of the hottest teams in all of minor league baseball, and with this win they moved themselves to 35-15 over their past 50 games. They immediately jumped to a lead in this game in the first as Shea Langeliers ripped a double into right field that scored Justin Dean and Drew Lugbauer. Tennessee was able to hit back in the third inning, but their defense cost them a bit as an error to lead off the inning cost them some runs. Trey Harris made them pay with an RBI double to retake the lead, and Harris himself came in to score when the Smokies walked three consecutive batters with two outs. Mississippi tacked on a run with a Jalen Miller home run in the fourth, and the bullpen produced a dominant outing to make sure that was all they needed. Trey Harris had a surprisingly slow start to the season but he is really turning things around of late. Over his past 19 games he has hit .342/.398/.494 with the biggest change being the return of his power production. He only has 11 extra base hits one the season, but six of those have come in his past ten games with three of his four home runs coming in that span.

Odalvi Javier was his normal solid self on the mound, going five decent innings to put the Braves in a position to win. He started out with two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third, with two singles putting him in a precarious position with one out. Fortunately, Shea Langeliers threw another runner out trying to steal a base, but Javier failed to work out of it, allowing a walk and a two run double that tied the game. Javier didn’t allow another baserunner following that double, setting down the final seven he faced. He turned the ball over to Indigo Diaz, who deservingly finally got the call to Mississippi to bolster the top team in the league. Indigo started out by walking the first batter he faced then allowed a fly out before getting a double play to end the frame. He looked a little more Indigo-like in the seventh inning despite his command not being there, striking out three batters to work around a hit batter and a base hit. Daysbel Hernandez worked the final two innings, and struck out four batters. The only batter he allowed to reach was on a home run in the eight inning, which cut the lead to two runs.

Next Game: 7/15 @ (24-34) Tennessee Smokies @ 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Victor Vodnik (0-1, 2.60 ERA)

TNS: TBD

(32—30) Rome Braves 3, (37-25) Greensboro Grasshoppers 4

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, RF: 0-5, .296/.324/.442
  • Bryce Ball, 1B: 2-3, 2 2B, BB, .207/.354/.396
  • Jesse Franklin, LF: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, .268/.332/.571
  • Darius Vines, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.65 ERA
  • Mitch Horacek, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome’s defense blew it in this game, as they committed five errors that led to three unearned runs. Jesse Franklin provided the bulk of the offense in this game for Rome, crushing a two run home run in the top of the first inning to put Rome up 2-0. That was Franklin’s 15th of the season, all since June 1st, and since that date he has hit an astonishing .309/.390/.764 for a 196 wRC+ in 36 games. Following the home run the Greensboro starter walked the bases loaded, but Rome could not come through with another hit and this made a difference in the game. They managed only one more hit against the starter, who left after four innings. The first two batters in the fifth inning had hits, but a strikeout and a double play ended the threat.Down 3-2 in the seventh Andrew Moritz led off with a double to give them home, but a fly out and a strikeout quickly had them in danger of losing another opportunity. This seemed likely as Michael Harris struck out, but a wild pitch on the play allowed Moritz to score and Harris to reach and tied the game. Greensboro took the lead in the 8th, and Rome blew an opportunity with a leadoff double from Bryce ball in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Josephina led off with a walk in the ninth, but once again Rome stranded a leadoff hitter and they lost 4-3.

Darius Vines had another solid start for Rome, and completed five innings with one earned run allowed to lower his ERA to 2.65. It wasn’t all roses however, as he did have some moments where he got hit a bit and the defense provided little support behind him. Vines dominated through the first two innings, retiring all six batters with three strikeouts and three ground outs. Things got off the rails after a one out error in the third inning, and a double and single after that scored an unearned run to cut the lead to 2-1. Vines got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning, then pitched another scoreless inning in the fourth to hold the lead. A walk and a double greeted him in his fifth inning, with a run scoring on the latter to tie the game. Vines got the next two outs, but a hot shot at second base was not handled cleanly and charged as a run scoring error. Kind of a tough play for the infielder, but went down as an unearned run regardless and Rome’s third error of the game. Vines finished off his start with a strikeout. Mitch Stallings worked around a couple of hits and a hit batter as he struck out four batters over two scoreless innings of relief to send it to the 8th inning tied up. Zach Daniels then had a day, with the first batter of the inning getting a hit, then scoring on a pickoff play gone awry featuring errors from both Daniels and Michael Harris. The next two batters followed with singles, but Daniels kept the game there as he got two strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning. Mitch Horacek was dominant in the 9th with two strikeouts and a perfect inning of work.

Next Game: 7/15 vs (37-25) Greensboro Grasshoppers @ 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: AJ Puckett (2-1, 5.02 ERA)

GBO: Tahnaj Thomas (0-2, 4.97 ERA)

(28-33) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (42-18) Charleston Riverdogs 10

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, SB, RBI, .280/.379/.385
  • Willie Carter, 1B: 1-4, 2B, BB, 4 RBI, .293/.392/.424
  • Ricardo Rodriguez, C: 1-4, 2 RBI, .253/.370/.444
  • Chad Bryant, SP: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 8.36 ERA
  • Gabriel Rodriguez, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 10.80 ERA

The pitching was atrocious for Augusta, and I honestly wasn’t sure for a while if this game was ever going to end. The hitting did their job at least early in the game, and that was sparked by the return of Vaughn Grissom who reached four times in his first game off of the Injured List. A walk to Bunnell and a hit from Grissom put two runners on, and Willie Carter gave Augusta a lead with an RBI groundout. Those two once again were the spark in the third inning as they both drew walks with one out. Willie Carter then crushed a double to score both and give Augusta the lead back at 3-2. Landon Stephens followed with the third walk of the inning and Ricardo Rodriguez and Brandon Parker each had run-scoring singles to stretch the lead to 5-2. Charleston then put up six in the bottom of the inning and Augusta never caught up. Braulio Vasquez led off with a double in the fourth and scored on a couple of ground outs, then later in this game stole his 33rd base of the season. Willie Carter walked and scored on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, bringing Augusta within a run at 8-7. That mattered little as Charleston got two more runs over the next two innings and Augu cv vc vc sta’s offense stopped scoring until very late. The Greenjackets didn’t get a hit from the 6th through 8th innings but Vaughn Grissom was there to break that streak with a leadoff double in the ninth. He scored on consecutive groundouts, but that was a bit useless as it just trimmed the lead down to 10-8. Landon Stephens had a two out double to bring the tying run to the plate, but a strikeout ended it with no further damage.

Some days it is just not meant to be, and a pitching staff walking 13 batters and throwing over 220 pitches is a sign of that. Chad Bryant got the start for Augusta and struggled with his command, walking two batters and allowing three hits that led to two runs. He did get four strikeouts and now has 19 on the season in 14 innings, but that’s little consolation when you also have allowed 13 walks. Zach Seipel got the ball in the third inning, and this is when the game really went off of the rails. Seipel walked three batters and allowed a double before being pulled from the game with the bases loaded and one out. Ben Thompson immediately walked in a run, then after a strikeout walked in another run and gave up a bases clearing triple that put Charleston on top. Thompson got the first two outs in the fourth, then turned it over to Peyton Williams who loaded the bases but was able to get out of it unharmed.

Augusta then turned to Rolddy Munoz, twin brother of Roddery, and he had an interesting first inning on the mound. He allowed a hit, but got a ground out and a strikeout that should have put him in great position but the catcher couldn’t handle strike three. Mvvvc unoz then balked a runner home before getting two strikeouts to end the inning. Munoz allowed a more typical run in the sixth inning on a lead off home run before getting an infield pop out and a strikeout to end the inning. Gabriel Rodriguez gave Augusta two scoreless innings despite three walks and Kenny Wells finished the last out of the game.

Next Game: 7/15 @ (42-18) Charleston RIverdogs @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: Joey Estes (1-3, 2.33 ERA)

CSC: Ben Brecht (2-2, 3.40 ERA)