Up against elimination, the M-Braves can win it all tonight versus Montgomery

Sunday, September 26, 2021

-Clint Manry

The 2021 minor league season may be coming to an end soon, but the Double-A Mississippi Braves are going to enjoy every last second of what’s been an incredible run this year. After being routed 14-2 by Montgomery on Saturday night, the M-Braves now face a Game 5 elimination game on Sunday at 6:05 PM (ET) to decide the best of the South division.

Below is a recap of the games played so far in this championship series, as well as a brief preview of Sunday night’s Game 5…

Game 1:  7-1, Montgomery

M-Braves starter Jared Shuster threw the ball well but the Mississippi offense couldn’t figure out Montgomery’s pitching, only tallying three hits overall as a team. Biscuits’ starter Adrian De Horta tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out seven. Third baseman Wendell Rijo was the only M-Braves batter to record an XBH.

Game 2:  8-5, Mississippi

The M-Braves redeemed itself on the offense in Game 2, this time coming away with 11 hits and a pair of homers. A five-run third-inning, featuring home runs from both Rijo and Greyson Jenista, gave Mississippi a big lead in the first half of the game. However, the M- Braves bullpen nearly spoiled the win when reliever Troy Bacon allowed three runs in the fourth. Fortunately, the M-Braves offense scored another pair of runs late in the contest to pull ahead for good. Mississippi starter Freddy Tarnok struck out seven in 4.1 innings, allowing just two runs from three hits to go with a pair of walks.

Game 3:  11-9, Mississippi

This one turned into a slugfest as both Mississippi and Montgomery combined for 24 hits altogether, including six home runs. M-Braves first baseman Drew Lugbauer had a big game, scoring three runs himself and finishing 2 for 3 with a homer and a double. Also, third baseman CJ Alexander and centerfielder Justin Dean combined to go 5 for 9 with five RBI, with the former homering as well and the latter slapping a double. Starter Spencer Strider pitched well and limited the damage from Montgomery during the first five innings, although the Biscuits nearly pulled off an epic comeback when they put up a five spot in the final frame. Thankfully Mississippi scored six runs in the eighth to give the M-Braves just enough margin for error during that horrific ninth as they barely won what ended as a close game.

Game 4:  14-2, Montgomery

William Woods got the start on Saturday in which the M-Braves needed just one more win to take the series. However, Woods only lasted three innings, and the Mississippi bullpen imploded. Relievers Troy Bacon, Sean McLaughlin and Matt Withrow combined to allow 12 earned runs before Odalvi Javier stopped the bleeding in the ninth. Montgomery’s Ford Proctor – a former third-round pick by the Rays – finished 2 for 4 with four RBI as four different Biscuits batters ended up with multi-hit games. For Mississippi, Jefrey Ramos homered (as a pinch-hitter) while Dean and Trey Harris both finished with two hits apiece.

Game 5 preview

Tonight’s matchup pits the 24-year-old righty Alan Rangel against Montgomery for the elimination game. At the time of this writing, the Biscuits have yet to announce a starter. Justin Dean and Trey Harris, as well as the rest of the M-Braves lineup, will be looking to stay hot on offense as the team has continued to score runs in bunches during this series. The only problem, though, is Montgomery has done the same so far. Hopefully the Mississippi bullpen can settle down tonight in what should be a close one. So far, even though both teams have scored seemingly at will, the M-Braves starting staff has mostly held its own. The four starters so far – Jared Shuster, Freddy Tarnok, Spencer Strider and William Woods – have combined to pitch to a 4.70 ERA with 12 strikeouts per nine and 3.1 walks. Everything just seems to fall apart once the bullpen gets involved. Maybe that changes tonight!

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