Justin Dean tallies four hits in M-Braves win

The minor league week was wrapped up yesterday as all four Braves affiliates will enjoy a scheduled off day today. Here’s a recap of Sunday’s action…

Gwinnett Stripers (18-18)

L, 7-6 (10 inn.) vs. Memphis

SP, C. Johnstone – 2 IP, 3 H, ER, K

SS, O. Arcia – 1 for 5, HR, 2 RBI

CF, P. Ervin – 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI 

BOX SCORE 

Gwinnett’s series finale against Memphis on Sunday wound up being an exciting one, despite the extra-inning loss. The Stripers came back from a two-run deficit in the 9th, thanks to a home run by Philip Ervin. However, the Redbirds Ali Sanchez came away with the bases-loaded RBI single off Gwinnett reliever Jay Flaa for the walk-off victory. The Stripers will leave Memphis and enter Monday’s off day with a series split with the Redbirds.

Other notable performances from yesterday include, as usual, shortstop Orlando Arcia, who’s now up to double-digit homers for the season. Arcia’s long ball on Sunday was an absolute no doubter that added to Gwinnett’s lead.

One of three Stripers with multiple hits yesterday, Johan Camargo finished 2 for 4 with an RBI, a run and a walk, giving him four-straight games now with two or more hits. Johan finishes the week with a .322 AVG and a .938 OPS so far this season. 

Once again, prospect Drew Waters was nowhere to be found in Gwinnett’s lineup, nor was Cristian Pache. The 30-year-old Terrance Gore got the start in left, Yolmer Sanchez was in right and Ervin manned center. Gore was one of the other Stripers batters with two hits in Sunday’s game, along with veteran second baseman Jason Kipnis. 

The pitching, on the other hand, was far less exciting. Connor Johnstone got the start but was out of there after just 26 pitches (though it was one of his better days as only six of those were called a ball). Then it became a convoy of Gwinnett relievers, starting with Tanner Roark and ending with Flaa, with four different pitchers in between. It was both Chasen Bradford and Jacob Webb that single-handedly allowed Memphis’ five runs, following the 2nd-inning RBI single surrendered by Johnstone. Yesterday was only the fourth time Bradford had been used this month so maybe he was just rusty. The two runs allowed by Webb, though, was pretty surprising; his problem on Sunday was his complete and utter lack of control. The 27-year-old righty walked three and only managed to get two outs, all while needing 29 pitches to do so. 

Mississippi Braves (20-16)

W, 11-2 (7 inn.) vs. Biloxi 

SP, H. Deal – 3 IP, R, 3 BB, 2 K

CF, J. Dean – 4 for 5, 2B, 3 RBI 

LF, J. Pearson – 2 for 3, HR, 3B, 3 RBI

BOX SCORE 

Because of a 2 hour and 23 minute rain delay leading up to Mississippi’s 2:05 PM (ET) start time, the M-Braves and Shuckers played only seven innings yesterday, and it was probably for the best… at least for Biloxi’s sake. This Mississippi team is waay more fun to watch than its big league club some 375 miles east. 

These are the sort of games you love to see as a follower of Braves prospects. This game featured a home run hit by one of the system’s biggest underperformers so far this season in shortstop Braden Shewmake, who jumped all over the third pitch of the game to put the M-Braves up 1-0.

Shewmake finished with two hits, by the way. But staying with the “underperformer” narrative, yesterday’s game also included a much-needed multi-hit finish for prospect Greyson Jenista, whose first hit came in that three-run 1st inning, pushing across two runs for Mississippi.

But the fun didn’t stop there. DH Drew Lugbauer tallied two hits… Jacob Pearson homered (as part of a two-hit day)… and… Trey Harris also contributed with two singles. It was hits for everybody on Sunday. 

However, Mississippi’s MVP yesterday unquestionably goes to speedy outfielder Justin Dean, who finished with a season-high four hits and three RBI, including his ninth double of the season. Dean — a former 17th round pick by the Braves — was involved in everything during what more than likely will go down as the best game of his pro career. You gotta love this kid’s style of play. Nothing but hustle.

Much like Gwinnett’s game, though, Mississippi went with an assortment of pitchers for Sunday’s win, beginning with starter Hayden Deal before using four different relievers. Overall, all five M-Braves pitchers combined to strikeout seven and allow just two runs (one earned) from three hits in seven innings. 

Rome Braves (19-17)

L, 9-0 vs. Asheville 

SP, B. Elder – (L), 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, HR

RF, J. Franklin – 2 for 4, 2B

DH, S. Michel – 2 for 4

BOX SCORE 

Well, you have games like Mississippi’s up above… and then you have Rome’s on Sunday. The R-Braves were shutout yesterday and finished 0 for 7 with RISP. Although the team’s poor performance didn’t stop prospect Jesse Franklin V from keeping his hitting streak going, as for the seventh-straight game the outfielder picked up a hit (his third multi-hit game in that span). Franklin is up to a .252 AVG this season, and is one of the few more-well-known hitters enjoying his time in Rome. Guys such as Bryce Ball (.202 AVG), Logan Brown (.212) and Beau Philip (.188) have really become quiet lately. 

Last year’s 5th round pick and 22-year-old righty, Bryce Elder, got the start for Rome on Sunday, and for essentially only the second time in his short pro career… he struggled. Back in Elder’s season-opening start in early May, he allowed five runs, but since then had pitched to a 2.65 ERA entering yesterday’s outing. However, versus the Tourists to end the week, Elder surrendered a ton of contact, and despite inducing 10 ground-ball outs, he also gave up a homer and a pair of doubles to go with his three walks. 

Reliever Gabriel Noguera got roughed up pretty badly in his 7th-inning appearance and only managed to get one out before four runs were charged against him. Mitch Stallings and Coleman Huntley finished up the game.

Augusta GreenJackets (17-19)

W, 4-2 vs. Myrtle Beach 

SP, D. Vines – 6 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K

SS, C. Bunnell – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI

1B, L. Stephens – 2 for 4, 3B, RBI 

BOX SCORE

A single and a triple was all Myrtle Beach could muster yesterday against Augusta’s starter Darius Vines as he continues to impress down in Single-A. Vines needed 84 pitches to get through his six innings, his third-straight outing in which he lasted five or more frames; that three-outing stretch also features a 1.59 ERA to go with 22 strikeouts and just four walks in 17 innings. The 23-year-old Vines has no doubt earned himself a promotion.

Offensively, a lot of the GreenJackets production on Sunday came from a familiar name, lead-off hitter Cade Bunnell, who tallied a pair of hits in the win. Bunnell has been streaky this season, but when he gets hot it usually lasts for several games. The 24-year-old provided Augusta with the two go-ahead runs it needed in the 8th, when he singled to right to put the GreenJackets up by two. 

Outfielder Willie Carter also had an RBI yesterday, as did first baseman Landon Stephens, who, along with Bunnell, was one of several Augusta batters to finish with a multi-hit game. 

Alec Barger and Justin Yeager pitched the final three frames of the GreenJackets victory, and the latter received the win as he struck out two in 1 ⅓ innings. 

Monday is a scheduled off day, and just like last week, also means no Braves baseball either. 

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