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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Freddy Tarnok tosses six scoreless innings

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It was a strong day for pitching staffs in the Braves system, with Freddy Tarnok leading the way in Mississippi’s extra innings loss.

Freddy Tarnok Photo Credit: Garrett Spain

It was a big day in the Atlanta Braves system for debuts, as six draftees made their first professional appearances for Augusta or Rome. Freddy Tarnok had the day’s biggest performance in an offensively-challenged evening, going six scoreless innings to prove he can pitch big games even when his stuff is off.

(43-37) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (28-51) Charlotte Knights 1

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, .238/.314/.390
  • William Contreras, C: 1-4, 2B, .346/.393/.731
  • Drew Waters, LF: 0-1, 3 BB, .255/.348/.426
  • Jose Rodriguez, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 6.93 ERA
  • Sean Newcomb, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3.86 ERA
  • AJ Minter, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 B, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Johan Camargo delivered a big blast early in this game and the Stripers pitching staff was able to ride that advantage to a win. Drew Waters set the pace up top for the Stripers with the first of his three walks on the day, earning an easy four pitch free pass as the Knights starter struggled to settle in to the game. Cristian Pache then reached on a single to put Gwinnett in a big spot early. With one out in the inning Johan Camargo came to the dish and he took a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right field to give Gwinnett a big early lead. Charlotte’s starter settled in after these early troubles and the Stripers weren’t able to tack on any extra runs until late in the game. Phillip Ervin singled in the seventh inning to get Gwinnett started then advanced on a walk, a ground out, and finally scored on a wild pitch to give the Stripers an insurance run.

Jose Rodriguez has struggled for the Stripers overall this season, but came thought with a good-looking start to keep them on top of this game. Rodriguez only allowed two hits over his five innings and no other baserunners, needing only 61 pitches to fill up those innings and send it to the bullpen with a lead. The Stripers then turned to their best arms out of the bullpen to close out the game. Dylan Lee lowered his ERA to 1.95 on the season with a 1-2-3 sixth inning and struck out a batter in the inning. Jesse Biddle struggled in the seventh inning and loaded the bases on a couple of hits and a walk, but his two strikeouts were key in preventing damage and he lowered his ERA to 1.93. Sean Newcomb was not able to overcome his leadoff double allowed, giving up the only Charlotte run a couple of batters later on a base hit. AJ Minter closed out a dominant ninth inning with two strikeouts and a soft ground ball to first base.

Next Game: 8/5 vs (43-37) Charlotte Knights @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Nolan Kingham (0-3, 8.44 ERA)

CLT: Jonathan Stiever (3-5, 6.05 ERA)

(45-35) Mississippi Braves 0, (43-36) Birmingham Barons 1 F/11

Box Score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 1-5, .244/.321/.344
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-5, .236/.280/.409
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 1-5, .254/.331/.513
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1.65 ERA
  • Odalvi Javier, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.14 ERA

These two pitching staffs traded zeroes all game and if it wasn’t for the extra runner this game likely would have gone on for much longer. Birmingham’s starter briefly flirted with perfection by retiring the first 12 Mississippi hitters, but Shea Langeliers led off in the fifth inning by looping a ball in front of the right fielder for the first hit. The Braves had nothing else doing in that inning and stranded Langeliers. CJ Alexander gave them the first extra base hit with a two out double in the sixth inning but they failed to score him as well. Mississippi had much more luck once the starter was out of the game, but still very little. Braden Shewmake singled to lead off the seventh inning to no result, and a walk in the eighth also came up empty. The Braves had one more opportunity in regulation to take a lead as Trey Harris led off in the ninth with a single, but after a couple of force outs and a walk Wendell Rijo struck out to end the threat. Mississippi went down easily in the tenth inning, but pinch hitter Justin Dean was the final out giving them a speedy option on second base in the 11th inning. A groundout advanced him to third base, but he was caught running on contact on a ground ball to third base and tagged out. Braden Shewmake singled to advance Trey Harris to third base, bringing up Drew Lugbauer in a big RBI spot. Lugbauer crushed a ball into the deep part of the field in right center field that carried to the wall, but the center fielder made a fantastic leaping play at the wall saving at least two runs. That sent the game to the bottom of the 11th inning where the Barons would walk it off.

Freddy Tarnok did not have his best stuff and certainly not his best command on the mound for Mississippi, but he fought the whole game and ended up going six scoreless innings and giving the Braves a chance to win. He started the game off with heat, throwing three straight fastballs to strike out the first batter with the last clocking in at 98mph. He allowed a hit in the inning but got through it on only nine pitches. The command troubles started to show in the second inning with a one out walk and a ball left over the plate for old friend Tyler Neslony to drive into the gap for a double. Tarnok got a big strikeout for the second out and then forced a routine ground out to end the threat in the second inning. He walked himself into trouble with a couple in the fourth inning, but again escaped with a strikeout to end the inning. He ended the game with his best pitching of the day, getting a clean inning to get through the fifth and striking out two batters in a scoreless sixth inning. The bullpen then had to match Tarnok’s efforts and did a good job of it. Brandon White allowed a lead off double in the seventh inning, but two strikeouts kept the runner in place and a two out walk did not hurt as he finished it off with an infield pop out. Odalvi Javier then gave the Braves two scoreless innings and sent it to the tenth inning where Daysbel Hernandez took the ball. Hernandez was sensational for the Braves, needing only nine pitched to retire the side on a sacrifice bunt and two strikeouts. He did so well they brought him out of the 11th, and to no fault of his own he took the loss. A ground out advanced the free runner to third base and a routine chopper up the middle was hit in a spot a bit too difficult for Shewmake to make the play at home and Birmingham won on two ground balls to the shortstop.

Next Game: 8/5 @ (43-36) Birmingham Barons @ 8:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Alan Rangel

BIR: TBD

(37-43) Rome Braves 4, (41-38) Greenville Drive 5

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, RF: 1-4, BB, SB, .295/.344/.433
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 0-3
  • Jesse Franklin, CF: 0-4, .243/.313/.536
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 3.63 ERA
  • Mitch Stallings, RP: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5.20 ERA

Rome’s offense gave them an early lead but could not hold onto it late as Greenville managed a comeback win. It seemed like it would be the opposite story early on when Greenville jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Rome had some fight in them and brought that in the middle innings. Michael Harris led off in the fourth inning with a single and this was the spark to a rally. Kevin Josephina also had a hit in the inning and with two outs Shean Michel delivered an RBI double to score Harris and bring Rome a run closer. Rusber Estrada then delivered the biggest hit of the inning, following Michel with a double of his own to clear the bases and tie the game at 3-3. In the sixth inning Beau Philip reached base on an error and stole second base and Michel came through with two outs on a single to give Rome a 4-3 lead. That was unfortunately the last hit for Rome in the game as the offense could not capitalize on three walks and an error down the stretch to score anymore runs.

Jared Shuster wasn’t as fine with his pitches as we’ve seen in most of his starts and he got hit around a bit throughout the game. A one out double and a walk in the first inning was erased as he struck out the next two batters, but in the second Greenville was able to break through. A single and a walk put two runners on with two outs in the inning, and Shuster allowed a big double that made the score 2-0. Shuster left one over the plate for a two out home run in the fourth inning to put Rome down 3-0. Shuster finished out his start by retiring the final four batters, with two coming via strikeout. Shuster’s seven strikeouts in the game are a career high as are the 73 pitches he threw. Mitch Stallings through two scoreless innings of relief to send Rome to the seventh with a lead. This brought on Justin Yeager, who had the strikeout pitch working but didn’t have the don’t give up runs pitch in his back pocket. Yeager allowed a triple to the first batter he faced then threw a ball in the dirt for a (dubious) wild pitch that tied the game. Yeager allowed a double and a single back to back in the eight inning, then threw another run scoring wild pitch that gave Greenville the lead and the game.

Next Game: 8/5 @ (41-38) Greenville Drive @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jake McSteen (1-1, 5.97 ERA)

GVL: TBD

(34-45) Augusta GreenJackets 1, (55-23) Charleston Riverdogs 3 Game 1

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-3, .302/.402/.444
  • Landon Stephens, RF: 1-3, HR, RBI, .247/.345/.456
  • Justin Henry-Malloy, 3B: 0-2
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.73 ERA

Augusta’s offense was woeful in the first game as the new draftees could not provide a punch in a 3-1 loss. Fortunately Tanner Gordon provided strong pitching early in the game, striking out three batters over three scoreless innings while the offense floundered. Augusta then got a one out double from Bryson Horne to put them in position to take a lead, but no one came through with another hit and the game stayed tied. A leadoff double came home to roost in the bottom of the fourth as an RBI ground out game Charleston a 1-0 lead. Gordon kept pitching well and had only allowed one run through five innings, but the sixth inning was one too many and the game got out of reach for a struggling offense. Gordon allowed two RBI doubles in the inning, with three of the eight hits he allowed coming in the sixth to extend the lead. Landon Stephens brought home Augusta’s lone run in the seventh inning on a solo home run, but no one else did anything of note to even threaten a late comeback.

(34-46) Augusta GreenJackets 3, (56-23) Charleston Riverdogs 4 Game 2

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, DH: 0-2, BB, .298/.404/.440
  • Cristian Robinson, RF: 0-2
  • Cal Conley, SS: 1-3
  • Tyler Tolve, C: 0-2, BB
  • James Acuna, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 3.27 ERA
  • Austin Smith, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Augusta fought hard in game two, but just could not pull out an extra innings victory and dropped their 11th straight game to Charleston. The Riverdogs struck first in this one as well, with a solo home run in the first inning off of spot starter James Acuna. Acuna pitched really well outside of that for Augusta, giving them three innings with no walks and four strikeouts to keep the game in hand. He only needed 35 pitches and threw 27 of those for strikes. Austin Smith was next in line, making his professional debut with a phenomenal outing out of the bullpen. He struck out two batters in a perfect fourth inning and only needed eight pitches to get through his first professional inning. Lisandro Santos kept the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning with a 1-2-3 inning, and turned the ball over to Peyton Williams to try to give the Greenjackets a bit more length. Williams was tremendous in the sixth and seventh innings, retiring all six batters he faced and striking out three of those. With a two run lead in the eighth (extra innings because it is a seven inning double header) they brought him out and it did not go so well. Williams got two outs in the inning, but also allowed a double that brought the game within one run and advanced the tying run to third. This brought in Benjamin Dum to close out the game, and with an infield hit the game was tied and headed to a second extra inning. Augusta came up empty in the top of the ninth, and a throwing error from Dum on a pickoff attempt followed by a sacrifice fly ended the game for Augusta. They are now 4-16 against Charleston this season and 30-30 against the rest of the league.

The offense came through with big hits in the game, but unfortunately the offense and pitching couldn’t quite match up. The first ten batters of the game for Augusta were retired, but Vaughn Grissom broke that streak in the fourth with a walk. Bryson Horne followed with a double and Grissom streaked around the bases to tie the game up. This was the only hit of the game until the sixth, when fourth round pick Cal Conley got his first professional hit. Nothing came of this hit however as Conley was picked off. In the 8th inning Braulio Vasquez delivered the big hit for Augusta, driving in the free runner with a one out single. He advanced to second and third on two errors and then was able to come in to score on a sacrifice fly to give Augusta a two run lead. This unfortunately did not hold, and in the ninth the first two batters struck out and a fly out ended the inning.

Next Game: 8/5 @ (56-23) Charleston Riverdogs @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: Rainery Rodriguez (1-1, 7.45 ERA)

CSC: Ian Seymour (1-0, 3.54 ERA)