Last night was a fun one down in the Atlanta Braves farm system as Braves’ affiliates went 2-2 with some strong performances from the team’s top prospects. Alex Jackson sent a couple of baseballs into low Earth orbit, Michael Harris had a three hit night, and Jesse Franklin V continued to do Jesse Franklin V things. Lets get into the games.
Gwinnett Braves 7, Durham Bulls 9
- Alex Jackson, C: 2-5. 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1.103 OPS
- Drew Waters, RF: 2-3, 2 2B, BB, 2 R, .677 OPS
- Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .671 OPS
- Touki Toussaint, SP: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K
- Thomas Burrows, RP: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3.00 ERA
The Gwinnett offense showed up on Friday night, but unfortunately they were unable to overcome a rough start from Touki Toussaint and a tough sixth inning from the bullpen as the Stripers fell by the score of 9-7. It was a rough night for Touki as he looks to return to the majors after an injury in spring training that torpedoed him, but last night did him no favors there as he could not command his pitches. He got lit up and failed to escape the third inning, Touki has been largely good at limiting contact during his rehab stint, so drawing too many conclusions from one outing does not seem wise, but his walk rate has consistently been an issue. After a scoreless 1 1/3 innings of work from Thomas Burrows, the final damage was done by Durham against Chasen Bradford who gave up three straight doubles followed by a single to put Durham ahead for good despite a late Striper rally.
Alex Jackson - Destroyer of Baseballs: The Sequal— Gwinnett Stripers (@GoStripers) July 3, 2021
Stripers: 6 Bulls: 9 pic.twitter.com/gVzdjnUWBk
On offense, how about Alex Jackson?! Due to injuries and playing time in the major leagues, Jackson has played in just 13 games in Triple-A, but that hasn’t stopped him from connecting for seven home runs for Gwinnett this season including a pair of them last night. It is also worth mentioning that he absolutely destroyed both of them. Both Cristian Pache and Drew Waters had impactful nights at the plate as Pache connected for a two-run double and Waters reached base three times including a pair of doubles. Ryan Goins chipped in as well with a pair of hits and RBI, but unfortunately the deficit proved to be too large on this day.
Next Game: 7/3 @ Durham at 6:35 PM EST. Probable Starters: Gwinnett - Jose Rodriguez, Durham - TBD
Mississippi Braves 1, Montgomery Biscuits 3
- Trey Harris, RF: 2-4, 2 RBI, R, .655 OPS
- Shea Langeliers, C: 0-4, 2 K, .897 OPS
- Odalvi Javier, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2.64 ERA
- Kurt Hoekstra, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.63 ERA
Odalvi Javier kept this game close for a long time, but he finally made a mistake in the sixth and the Mississippi offense failed to show up in a 3-1 loss to Montgomery. Javier has been sneaky good this season for Mississippi and had held Montgomery scoreless going into the sixth. Unfortunately, a two-out homer with a couple of batters on proved to be the difference in the game. Kurt Hoekstra, who was a position player in the Braves’ system before being converted to a reliever, got the final couple of innings for Mississippi and he looked dominant striking out four over two scoreless innings.
Kurt Hoekstra has really been pitching well of late. In his last 7 games, has allowed no runs in 7.2 innings, 9 K's, 7 BB. He now is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA over 11 games this season.— Chris Harris (@CHarris731) July 3, 2021
On offense, uh....at least Trey Harris had a decent night? Harris had a pair of hits including a double and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games after what was a pretty rough start to the season for him. Unfortunately, the rest of the Mississippi lineup accounted for just one hit which was obviously less than ideal. Of note, Braden Shewmake had the night off as did Drew Lugbauer which might explain some of the offensive duldrums.
Next Game: 7/3 @ Montgomery at 7:05 PM EST. Probable Starters: Mississippi - AJ Puckett, Montgomery - TBD
Rome Braves 5, Wilmington Blue Rocks 4
- Michael Harris, CF: 3-5, 2 2B, RBI, R, .839 OPS
- Bryce Ball, 1B: 2-4, BB, .724 OPS
- Cody Milligan, 2B: 2-4, 3B, RBI, BB, R, .708 OPS
- Jesse Franklin V, LF: 2-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, .851 OPS
- Jared Shuster, SP: 5 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.38 ERA
- Kasey Kalich, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1.52 ERA
This was a fun one as Rome was locked in a back and forth game against Wilmington and ultimately emerged victorious by the score of 5-4. Its taken a while, but it looks like Jared Shuster is close to fully stretched out and he looked good last night with some aggressive baserunning after a couple of walks including a steal of home in the fourth inning being the only blemish on his night. That changeup is still quite good. After...forgettable relief outings from Davis Schwab and Trey Riley which included Schwab getting thrown out of the game, Kasey Kalich came in for the bottom of the ninth with Rome clinging to a one run lead and continued his run of excellence this season despite coming off pretty extensive wrist surgery to secure the win.
On offense, a lot of key players got in on the fun. Michael Harris continued his hot hitting with a three hit night including a pair of doubles. He has 15 hits in his last 10 games which seems pretty good. Bryce Ball had a pair of hits which was nice to see while Cody Milligan set the table nicely out of the leadoff spot as he reached base three times. It wouldn’t feel like a Rome recap if there wasn’t something awesome that Jesse Franklin V did and tonight was no exception as he connected for his ninth home run of the season. It seems like he might be picking up right where he left off after an insane month of June for him. Rome had a ton of chances to blow this game wide open with 14 hits on the evening, but five runs proved to be just enough.
Next Game: 7/3 Doubleheader @ Wilmington with game one starting at 5:30 PM EST. Probable Starters: Rome - Mitch Stallings for Game One, TBD for Game Two, Wilmington - both games TBD
Augusta GreenJackets 9, Columbia Fireflies 8
- Stephen Paolini, CF: 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 R, SB, .490 OPS
- Landon Stephens, LF: 3-4, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 R, .735 OPS
- Victor De Hoyos, C: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, .657 OPS
- Chad Bryant, SP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 6.30 ERA
- Zach Seipel, RP: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 12.56 ERA
It never feels easy with Augusta, but they managed to rally late in the game to secure a 9-8 win over Columbia. Chad Bryant was your starter/opener on Friday evening and while it took 33 pitches and he walked in a run in the first, he managed to get through an inning of work with just the one run allowed. The next two relievers gave up a run each before Zach Seipel entered the game and...well things went sideways and the GreenJackets found themselves down 8-6 in the seventh inning. Fortunately, Justin Yeager pitched a pair of scoreless innings and the offense rallied to steal this one.
In happy news, Stephen Paolini connected for his first home run as a professional last night and that three-run shot proved to be an important blow in the game. Paolini has had a rough season so far, so hopefully that homer is a sign that he is turning things around. Augusta had four players with multi-hit games in Landon Stephens, Victory De Hoyos, Jose Bermudez, and Cody Birdsong. De Hoyos’ two-run homer tied the game in the bottom of the seventh and Willie Carter’s RBI double in the eighth ultimately gave Augusta the win.
Next Game: 7/3 vs. Columbia at 6:35 PM EST. Probable Starters: Augusta - Joey Estes, Columbia - Rylan Kaufman