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Braves Minor League Recap: Cristian Pache, Michael Harris II, Vaughn Grissom have big nights

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Indigo Diaz’s return from the IL was dazzling, but overshadowed by a spectacular night by some of the Braves top hitting prospects.

Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Image Credit: Mills Fitzner

After a rain plagued weekend the sun is starting to shine and the hopes of four games being played today fills this bloggers heart with joy. Kyle Muller takes to the mound as he and the Gwinnett Stripers take on Kirk McCarty and the Columbus Clippers. Over in Mississippi it’s Hayden Deal making the start against the Montgomery Biscuits while William Woods and the Rome Braves travel to Asheville to take on the Tourists. To round out the action the Augusta Greenjackets send Royber Salinas to the mound to face the 47-61 Columbia FireFlies.

(62-47) Gwinnett Stripers 7 vs. (51-56) Columbus Clippers 2

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI, SB, 3 R, BB, .796 OPS
  • Jason Kipnis, DH: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, .898 OPS
  • William Contreras, C: 1-for-5, HR, R, RBI, .867 OPS
  • Johan Camargo, 1B: 2-for-4, .894 OPS
  • Travis Demeritte, RF: 1-for-4, HR, R, RBI, 1.014 OPS
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 3.08 ERA

Box Score

The Gwinnett Stripers were blessed with slightly chaotic Kyle Muller who lasted five innings and struck out five but walked four. He was staked to a three run lead by the top of the third thanks to this tank shot by William Contreras in the first inning.

Gwinnett would add two more runs in the third inning after Jason Kipnis hit his eighth homer of the season which would drive in Cristian Pache and give Gwinnett the 3-0 lead. The Clippers would respond with a run of their own in the bottom half in the inning when Kyle Muller ran into some trouble but limited it to just one run on a single to Cristian Pache who threw out the second runner trying to score but the damage was done and the lead was down to 3-1.

That deficit would not last long as Travis Demeritte had ideas of his own to push the game to 4-1.

The Stripers would add on yet another run in the top half of the fifth inning when Cristian Pache would join in on the homer hitting fun extending the lead to 5-1.

Muller would work into some trouble in the bottom half of the fifth inning but ultimately surrendered just one run and left the game with a 5-2 lead. The Stripers would add on a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning to extend the lead to 7-2, but at that point the Stripers bullpen had taken over and completely shut down the Clippers offense. Jesse Biddle, Victor Arano, and Chasen Bradford would shut down the Clippers offense from the fifth inning on, and preserve the lead to give the Stripers their 62nd win of the season.

(56-52) Montgomery Biscuits 1 vs. (62-40) Mississippi Braves 4

  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-for-3, 2B, .721 OPS
  • Luke Waddell, 2B: 1-for-4, RBI, .500 OPS
  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-for-2, 2 RBI, R, HR, .808 OPS
  • Hayden Deal, SP: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 3.61 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Box Score

Mississippi took a four inning start from Hayden Deal and made it work in an impressive 4-1 victory over the Biscuits. Hayden surrendered just a pair of singles in his four innings of work and left the game with a 3-0 lead. Those three runs came in the bottom of the third inning when Greyson Jenista hit his 18th homer of the season, this one of the two-run variety, to give Mississippi the 2-0 lead. Justin Dean would then double right after, and Luke Waddell would drive him in with an RBI single to extend the lead to three.

Following the third runs were at a premium until the seventh inning when Hendrik Clementine hit his seventh homer of the season to push the lead to 4-0. Montgomery would quickly respond in the top half of the next inning with a solo homer, but that was all the damage that the Braves pitching staff would allow. Making his first appearance since going to the IL, Indigo Diaz came on in the fifth inning and pitched a pair of scoreless innings - extending his scoreless debut season in Double-A (13 innings). He was followed by Corbin Clouse who gave up the solo homer, but also pitched a pair innings himself and struck out two. Brooks Wilson came into the game and shut the door for Mississippi with a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts, to lower his ERA on the season to 2.57 and give Mississippi the win.

(51-57) Rome Braves 10 vs. (48-57) Asheville Tourists 12

  • Michael Harris II, LF: 2-for-3, 2B, 2R, RBI, 2 BB, SB, .802 OPS
  • Jesse Franklin V, CF: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, .850 OPS
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1.588 OPS
  • Williams Woods, SP: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • Rusber Estrada, C: 3-for-4, RBI, BB, .738 OPS

Box Score

Pitching was optional in this slugfest as Rome battled hard to overcome a 10-5 deficit just to lose on a walk-off two-run homerun. Williams Woods got the start for Rome and worked three innings of one earned run ball where he struck out two. Woods, who became the talk of twitter two years ago after hitting 100 MPH on the gun, has transitioned to starter and the Braves have been quietly, and slowly ramping him up. Unfortunately for Rome, he was the only pitcher that less than 2 runs in the game. Davis Schwab (4), Marrick Crouse (2), Zach Daniels (3), Trey Riley (2) all gave up multiple runs in their stints on the mound tonight.

Despite scoring 10 runs in the game, and an astounding five runs in the ninth inning, the Rome Braves offense couldn’t overcome the poor pitching and defense (4 errors). The trio of Michael Harris II, Jesse Franklin V, and Vaughn Grissom went a combined 7-for-13 with Vaughn Grissom driving in half of the Rome Braves runs. Vaughn had a solo homer in the fourth inning, a two-run single in the fifth inning, and a two-run double in the ninth inning in what has been just a sensational performance since his promotion to Rome (and, well, over the entire season). Michael Harris II had a fine performance himself going 2-for-3, with two walks and his 21st double of the season, as well as his 24th stolen base of the season. The team went an impressive 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position but still lost.

(47-62) Columbia FireFlies 1 vs. (46-63) Augusta GreenJackets 7

  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, SB, .823 OPS
  • Willie Carter, RF: 1-for-4, 4 RBI, .774 OPS
  • Braulio Vasquez, DH: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, R, .716 OPS
  • Royber Salinas, SP: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA

Box Score

Royber Salinas, making his state side debut this year and his Augusta debut tonight, got the start and worked four hitless innings striking out five and walking two, in an overall brilliantly pitched game for Augusta. Columbia didn’t even register a hit until the seventh inning, and gave up just three the entire game. One single unearned run came in the seventh inning, but outside of that following Royber was the trio of Miguel Pena, Ben Thompson, and Lisandro Santos that toyed around with Columbia hitters - surrendering three hits over five innings of relief work.

The offense came in spurts with the action getting started with a bottom of the first grand slam by Willie Carter that gave the GreenJackets a 4-0 lead to begin with. They would add on three additional runs in the third inning thanks to a two-RBI double by Braulio Vasquez that would score Justyn-Henry Malloy, and Bryson Horne. Vasquez would later come on to score in the inning courtesy of an RBI single by Adam Zebrowski that gave Augusta the 7-0 lead. They wouldn’t score another run after the third inning but those seven runs were more than enough to propel the GreenJackets to their 46th win of the season.