Gwinnett Stripers (18-17)
L, 6-1 vs. Memphis
- SP, J. De La Cruz – (L), 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
- RF/1B, J. Camargo – 2 for 4, 2B
- SS, O. Arcia – 2 for 4, R
Memphis starter, and St. Louis Cardinals’ fifth-ranked prospects (per FanGraphs), Matthew Liberatore held Gwinnett to just four hits during his 5.1 innings of work on Saturday, including seven strikeouts. The run charged against Liberatore came after he exited in the 6th, an RBI force-out off the bat of the Stripers’ Phillip Ervin. Although, even after the Redbirds star prospect pitcher left the game, Gwinnett’s bats remained quiet as the offense only managed one more hit throughout the rest of the game.
Other than Orlando Arcia and Johan Camargo listed above, only Sean Kazmar Jr. tallied a hit in the Stripers lineup. For the second consecutive day, prospect outfielder Drew Waters was NOT in the starting lineup. Cristian Pache wasn’t either, though he did he appear as a pinch-hitter.
Unfortunately, last night’s poor outing by starter Jasseel De La Cruz now gives him back-to-back performances in which he’s allowed four runs, and the third time in his last four starts. In fact, the prospect pitcher really hasn’t found his groove at all this season, save for a four-inning outing he tossed back on May 19, in which he allowed just one hit and struck out five. But that was five starts ago.
De La Cruz was backed up by Ty Tice, Victor Arano and Jesse Chavez. Tice and Arano both allowed a run apiece, however, Chavez was sharp as he struck out four in two hitless frames to end the game.
Mississippi Braves (19-16)
W, 3-0 vs. Biloxi
- SP, N. Kingham – (W), 8.2 IP, 4 H, 5 K
- C, S. Langeliers – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
- LF, J. Ramos – 1 for 4, RBI
Mississippi is still rolling, folks, and they’re winning even when they play bad on offense. On Saturday the M-Braves went up against the Milwaukee Brewers no. 5 prospect, 6-foot-4 lefty, Ethan Small. The big southpaw made life miserable for Mississippi’s offense as he struck out 12 over 6.2 innings of work and allowed just one run from five hits.
But, the M-Brave lineup was patient, and in the 7th, when Small was clearly tiring on the mound, left fielder Jefrey Ramos took and 0-1 pitch the other way and scored Shea Langeliers to give Mississippi a 1-0 lead.
Then, after M-Braves starter Nolan Kingham came out and pitched another strong sequence in the 7th (by far his longest outing of the year), Langeliers came to the plate in the 8th and tacked on two more runs as he slugged his ninth home run of the 2021 season.
The two hits for Langeliers pushes his season AVG/OPS to a healthy .269/1.000. And for Ramos, he’s still hitting below .200, but his current four-game hitting streak has at least helped; in fact, over his last six games, he’s hitting .304 with a pair of homers and five RBI.
Following Kingham’s gem, who now owns a 3.02 ERA in 41.2 innings this season, reliever Kurt Hoekstra came in for the one-out save to preserve the M-Braves win.
Rome Braves (19-16)
GM 1: W, 5-2 (7 inn.) vs. Asheville
GM 2: W, 6-2 (7 inn.) vs. Asheville
GAME 1 / BOX SCORE
- SP, A. Rangel – (W), 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 8 K
- 1B, B. Langhorne – 2 for 3, 2B, 3 RBI
- CF, M. Harris – 1 for 2, 2B, R, BB
Asheville scored two 1st-inning runs off Rome starter Alan Rangel, but the R-Braves offense answered with a five-run 5th inning to win Saturday’s first game.
To start the 5th, both Andrew Moritz and Cody Milligan reached base to begin the rally, and three batters later, Michael Harris drew a walk of his own to load the bases. Following a bases-loaded walk by Rusber Estrada, the Tourists made a pitching change; but with two outs, first baseman Brett Langhorne came up with a huge hit as he cleared the bases with a three-run double to put Rome up 4-2. Immediately after, Garrett Saunders singled to increase the lead to 5-2, and the R-Braves never looked back.
The five-inning outing by Rangel was a nice improvement compared to his last time out as the 23-year-old has been a bit inconsistent so far this season. His eight strikeouts are a season-high and he’ll enter his next start with a 6.20 ERA for 2021. Reliever Marrick Crouse worked the final two innings and allowed just one hit to go with a pair of strikeouts.
GAME 2 / BOX SCORE
- SP, S. Strider – 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
- RF, J. Franklin – 1 for 3, HR, RBI
- 3B, K. Josephina – 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI
While Rome’s offense was rather quiet in Game 1 yesterday, that wasn’t the case in Game 2. The R-Braves started the scoring off in the 3rd with a double-steal, and then Jesse Franklin homered the very next inning. But a pair of runs by Asheville in its half of the 5th gave us a tied ballgame as Rome came to bat in the bottom of the inning.
The R-Braves offense proceeded to answer with four runs in that 5th inning, as Kevin Josephina ripped a two-run double, Bryce Ball slapped an RBI single and Logan Brown scored Josephina on a groundout. That 6-2 lead was all the team needed as it swept its doubleheader.
Starter Spencer Strider’s 4.2 innings yesterday ties a season-high for him as the Braves continue to keep him on a short leash, although his pitch count actually got up to 80 on Saturday. The former 4th round pick has been solid in Rome this season, and his latest outing now gives him six-straight starts this year in which he has allowed two runs or fewer. Strider’s ERA sits at 3.12.
Augusta GreenJackets (16-19)
L, 8-1 vs. Myrtle Beach
- SP, J. Johnson – (L), 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K, HR
- C, J. Valdes – 2 for 3, 2B, RBI
- SS, V. Grissom – 1 for 4
Augusta was held to just four hits as the GreenJackets offense struck out 12 times. Other than the two hitters listed above, only shortstop Cam Shepherd recorded a hit for Augusta as they were just overmatched by Myrtle Beach’s four pitchers yesterday.
Starter Jared Johnson made his first appearance this season and threw 53 pitches for Rome. The 20-year-old Johnson is a name to remember as he was a strong performer for the GCL Braves back in 2019, coming off his 14th round selection by the Braves in that year’s MLB Draft. With the Gulf Coast League, Johnson posted a 3.52 ERA over 15.1 innings, and he’ll most likely now become a regular starter for Augusta in 2021.