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Braves Minor League Recap: Drew Lugbauer caps Mississippi comeback

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The system went 5-0 on Saturday, but it wasn’t easy as it took a furious late comeback in Mississippi to finish.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves affiliates did what the big boys couldn’t do, and went a clean 5 for 5 in getting wins on Saturday. Mississippi completed one of the best comebacks of the season for their win, while in Rome it was Jesse Franklin and Vaughn Grissom bringing the lumber. Third round pick Dylan Dodd had a strong start for the GreenJackets down in Augusta while Braulio Vasquez ran wild.

(60-46) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (50-56) Memphis Redbirds 3

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, LF: 0-3, BB, .233/.335/.372
  • William Contreras, C: 0-4, .290/.364/.522
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-4, RBI, .266/.342/.430
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 4.02 ERA
  • Dylan Lee, RP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1.48 ERA

The Stripers found themselves down by a couple of runs after the fourth inning last night, but the game was suspended due to a lighting malfunction and when it picked up today the bats were on fire. The first two batters in the bottom of the fifth set off a major rally with Gwinnett taking a lead before even making an out. Travis Snider knocked in the first run to score Sean Kazmar and even relief pitcher Dylan Lee got in on the action by beating out an RBI infield single to tie the game. After Drew Waters walked to load the bases Cristian Pache gave the Stripers a lead by sneaking a ball through the left side of the infield for a hit. Jason Kipnis brought in the fourth run on a sacrifice fly, but the rally was swiftly ended by a Johan Camargo double play. Pinch hitter Phillip Ervin tacked on a run in the seventh inning with a home run and Gwinnett’s bullpen held strong to win the game.

Bryce Elder had the strikeout pitch working for the first time since his promotion to Gwinnett, but unfortunately the lighting issue ended his start after only four inning. A walk and a bit of batted ball misfortune scored a run in the first inning, and another run came in on a double and wild pitch in the third, but he was otherwise on a roll and seemed like he would have another 6 or so innings in the tank. He still set his Triple-A career high with seven strikeouts to bring him to 133 on the season overall. That has him in a tie for 11th place in total strikeouts in all of minor league baseball, and his four innings put him on top of the innings pitched leaderboard at 116 2/3. In addition to recording his second hit of the season Dylan Lee was phenomenal in relief of Elder and needed just 31 pitches to get through three perfect innings. He struck out four batters over those three innings and brought his ERA down to 1.48 which leads all Triple-A pitchers that have a minimum of 40 innings this season. Jesse Biddle had an easy game to close out with a three run lead, but he made it interesting in the ninth anyways. A one out ground rule double on a ball Pache misjudged in the ninth inning scored the third run of the game and put the tying run at second base with two chances for Memphis to get him in. Fortunately Biddle struck out the next batter and while the final batter of the game ripped one down the first base line it was right at Johan Camargo for the final out.

(61-46) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (50-57) Memphis Redbirds 2

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, LF: 1-3, SB, .234/.335/.372
  • Johan Camargo: 2-3, HR, 4 RBI, .299/.379/.511
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-3, RBI, .267/.342/.429
  • Jose Rodriguez, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 4.84 ERA
  • Trevor Kelley, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.60 ERA

Game two of the double header was the Johan Camargo show as he knocked in four of the seven runs scored by both sides. Once again the Stripers found themselves coming from behind when Memphis scored two early, and once again it was a big inning that did the damage to give them the win. The Stripers struggled the first time through the order with the only baserunner coming on a Jonathan Morales walk in the third inning. With two outs Drew Waters grounded one into the hole at shortstop and the shortstop misplaying the ball led to an error which probably shouldn’t have been charged because Waters would have beaten it to first anyways. Moving on, Cristian Pache ripped a ball in the same area and the shortstop made a ridiculous dive and throw on the ball, but Pache still beat it out and that scored the first run of the game for Gwinnett. Johan Camargo hit the next pitch to the moon and Gwinnett took a 4-2 lead all on “unearned” runs. Waters got a clean hit in the fifth inning to reach base and then stole second base, and two batters later Camargo ripped a single up the middle for his fourth RBI of the game.

Jose Rodriguez pitched a marvelous game for Gwinnett but had his own share of poor defensive luck behind him that led to two unearned runs scoring. In the second inning Rodriguez allowed a couple of singles to scratch out a rally against him, but had two outs in the inning and the Redbirds starting pitcher at the plate. The first pitch of that at bat was rolled on the ground to second base, but an in between hop caught Sean Kazmar and led to an error and a run scoring. The leadoff batter knocked in a second run before Rodriguez could end it and put the Stripers in a two run hole. That single from the leadoff hitter was the last Rodriguez would allow for awhile, as he set down the next nine batters in order with three of those on strikeouts. Finally a ground ball snuck through with two outs in the fifth, but that was quickly made unimportant as Rodriguez finished off a scoreless fifth inning. Trevor Kelley made quick work of the final two innings, retiring all six batters he faced with half coming on strikeouts.

Next Game: 9/5 vs (50-57) Memphis RedBirds @ 1:05 PM ET

Probable Starters


MEM: TJ Zeuch (2-3, 4.75 ERA)

(60-40) Mississippi Braves 6, (38-65) Biloxi Shuckers 4

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 3-4, 2 SB, .238/.346/.363
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, .238/.342/.491
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 1-4, .259/.335/.495
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.86 ERA
  • Daysbel Hernandez, RP: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2.93 ERA

Mississippi poured runs on in the ninth inning with Drew Lugbauer driving in the biggest hit of the game to lead them to a win. After struggled in the first inning from Freddy Tarnok te Braves found themselves in need of a comeback, and early on it wasn’t so clear they would get it. Justin Dean led the game off with a single, but the next batter grounded into a double play and each of the next seven went down in order. Finally in the top of the fourth Dean’s infield single got a small rally started. Trey Harris singled to move Dean over to third with no outs, and following a strikeout to Shea Langeliers the Braves pulled off a double steal to cut the deficit in half. Greyson Jenista crushed a home run to tie the game in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t all going in Mississippi’s favor. The Shuckers scored a run immediately in the bottom of the sixth and then added one in the seventh to put Mississippi down by two runs again. Justin Dean led off in the ninth inning and was once again the fire starter for the MBraves. He stole second base on the second pitch of the next at bat, his 28th of the season to extend his league lead, and on a ground ball to the pitcher he came in to score from second base as the throw was misplayed by the first baseman and trickled away from him. A single from Shea Langeliers moved Trey Harris into scoring position with one out, but you’re always in scoring position when Drew Lugbauer is up to bat. Lugbauer annihilated his 18th home run of the season, giving Mississippi a 6-4 lead they would hold until the end.

It was a bit of a battle early on for Freddy Tarnok, as especially in the first inning he struggled to find the spots he wanted and racked up 31 pitches just that inning. Three two out hits did Tarnok in, bringing in two early runs that was all Biloxi would get off of him. He seemed to have better and better feel of his pitches as the game moved on and finished his start by striking out four of the final seven batters he faced. He didn’t allow a hit after a two out double in the second inning and didn’t allow his one walk on the day until his final inning of the start. Daysbel Hernandez was not lights out as he had been at times earlier in the season, as he only struck out one of the seven batters he faced and was pulled after allowing a home run and a triple in the sixth inning. Tyler Ferguson finished that inning with a strikeout, but with two outs in the seventh worked himself into a little trouble. He walked a batter on four pitches, then moved him into scoring position by throwing a pickoff away. The next batter drove the runner in with a single and Mississippi found themselves down two runs again. Ferguson pitched a scoreless inning in the 8th, and Hayden Deal shut the game down in the ninth inning with a scoreless inning to seal a comeback win.

Next Game: 9/5 @ (38-65) Biloxi Shuckers @ 6:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Spencer Strider (2-6, 5.22 ERA)

BLX: Lucas Erceg (2-5, 4.50 ERA)

(50-56) Rome Braves 7, (39-67) Winston-Salem Dash 3

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 0-4, .298/.357/.438
  • Jesse Franklin, LF: 2-4, 2B, HR, SB, RBI, .244/.321/.527
  • Vaughn Grissom, 2B: 1-4, 2 RBI, .444/.583/.778
  • Jake McSteen, SP: 7 IP, 4H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3.86 ERA
  • Emmanuel Ramirez, RP: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 3.86 ERA

Jesse Franklin showed off his power once again for Rome, and Vaughn Grissom just keeps on hitting. Grissom’s hit today extended his hitting streak to six games. Rome wasted no time getting going in this game, and they kept adding runs as the game went along. Cody Milligan led off in the first with a walk and Drew Campbell immediately followed with an RBI double to give Rome the lead. Their big inning came in the third, with Riley Delgado leading off the inning with a base hit. Milligan was hit by a pitch and then Drew Campbell brought in Delgado for his second RBI of the day. With two outs Grissom recorded a base hit, scoring both Milligan and Campbell to push the lead to 4-0. Rome added on another in the fourth inning, then Franklin in the fifth led off with his 23rd home run of the season. That gives him sole possession of the league home run lead. After that home run Rome went into cruise as the Dash offense didn’t score until the top of the ninth inning. Riley Delgado had an RBI single in the 8th inning to get them to seven runs, and the Rome pitching easily closed out the game.

Jake McSteen was fantastic for Rome, giving them seven shutout innings. McSteen had some struggles in the third inning that put two runners on with one out, but he then went out and struck out the next two batters to end the inning as part of a stretch of 8 straight batters retired. After the third the Dash never put together a threat against him, and he cruised over the final four innings to send it to Emmanuel Ramirez in the bullpen. Ramirez struck out two batters in a perfect 8th inning, but struggled in the ninth to just get the game over with. The first five batters of the inning reached base and three runs scored, bringing the tying run to the on deck circle in what would have been a save situation if they had decided to go to another reliever. Finally Ramirez remembered he isn’t supposed to let the other team hit the baseball and struck out the final three batters to end what was a much closer call than it should have been.

Next Game: 9/5 vs (39-67) Winston-Salem Dash @ 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters



(44-63) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (49-58) Fayetteville Woodpeckers 2

Box Score

  • Cal Conley, SS: 1-3, 2 BB, .239/.343/.359
  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, .269/.317/.412
  • Braulio Vasquez, 2B: 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 SB, .216/.341/.332
  • Dylan Dodd, SP:4.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4.15 ERA
  • Alec Barger, RP: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 4.47 ERA

Braulio Vasquez had one of those all world games for Augusta and it was not a particularly close game at any point. A throwing error put Cal Conley on base to lead off the game and it spiraled from there. Cade Bunnell walked, as Cade Bunnell does, and Willie Carter drifted a ball into center field to score Conley for the first run. Bryson Horne ripped a ball into the right center field gap that would have scored both, but the combination of a ballpark with poor tolerances and impeccable aim led the ball to rolling in between the door of the bullpen for a ground rule double. That didn’t really matter as Justyn-Henry Malloy followed with a sacrifice fly to score Carter anyways and the game was already 3-0. Braulio Vasquez had himself a night on the bases, and it started in the second inning. He led off the inning with a double and then stole third base before scoring on a double steal attempt in which Cal Conley was thrown out at second base. In the fourth inning he bunted for a hit and stole second base, but decided to stick there and was stranded. Bryson Horne decided to not worry about holes in the wall at all in the fifth inning, and put one right over the fence for his ninth home run of the season to extend the lead to 5-0. Braulio Vasquez, a bit tired from all his running, decided a leisurely jog would be more fun and hit a home run in the 8th inning to cap off a fantastic day on his end that left him a triple short of the cycle.

Dylan Dodd improved again in his third start, and seems to have rounded into form after the post-draft layoff. He was simply dominant the first time through the order, with only one ball leaving the infield. He struck out five batters over those three perfect innings, and the first hit of the game finally came with two outs in the fourth inning. Dodd ended that inning swiftly, but wasn’t able to complete five as he ran into pitch count limits in the fifth inning. He walked the first batters he faced then after a strikeout for the first out was pulled for Barger. Barger allowed two hits before he was able to complete the inning and a pretty brutal run was charged to Dodd’s line. Barger was much better in the sixth with two strikeouts, but allowed a home run to lead off the seventh. He finished that inning with a fly out and two more strikeouts before turning the ball over to Peyton Williams to close the game. Williams did a solid job, and only allowed one hit and no runs while striking out two batters to finish the game.

Next Game: 9/5 @ (49-58) Fayetteville Woodpeckers @ 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters