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Michael Harris extends hitting streak to seven with M-Braves, while Augusta offense explodes

Michael Harris extends hitting streak to seven with M-Braves, while Augusta offense explodes
Braves Michael Harris plays in a GCL game against the Orioles. (By Tom DiPace)

The Atlanta Braves bounced back from a tough loss on Thursday to beat the Padres 5-2 on Friday, which is always nice to see. And along with a big league win last night, three of the four minor league affiliates also came away with a victory. Here’s a look at what happened down on the farm on Friday…

AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (5-5)

W, 2-1 vs. Nashville

(P) Nick Vincent – 2 IP, H, BB, 4 K

(Bullpen) – 7 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 11 K

(CF) Delino DeShields – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI

Nick Vincent spot started for prospect Kyle Muller on Friday, and the 35-year-old journeyman did a fine job getting Gwinnett through the first pair of innings, striking out four and allowing just one hit to go with one walk. There wasn’t much offense in this one, from either team, but the Stripers defense was right on point as both prospect Braden Shewmake and outfielder Justin Dean made nice plays in the eighth.

A fifth-inning RBI single by Delino DeShields and an RBI double by William Contreras provided Gwinnett with just enough offense to allow the Stripers to pull out the 2-1 win. The RBI by DeShields was his first in the Braves organization, after signing a minor league deal last week.

Thankfully the Gwinnett bullpen was ready to work on Friday. Bradnyn Sittinger relieved Vincent and took care of the third and fourth, than Brandon Brennan did a nice job of bouncing back by working the fifth. Lastly, Thomas Burrows and Brad Brach pitched the sixth thru ninth innings. No Stripers reliever allowed an earned run in the win, for Nashville’s run in the seventh came due to a throwing error by Pat Valaika.

AA – Mississippi Braves (1-6)

L, 7-3 vs. Biloxi

(P) Darius Vines – (L), 3 IP, 5 H, ER, 4 BB, 4 K, HR

(SS) Jordan Cowan – 2 for 3, RBI, BB

(CF) Michael Harris II – 1 for 4, 2B, R, BB

Mississippi has now lost four-straight, despite outhitting an undefeated Biloxi team on Friday night (8-7). Prospect righty Darius Vines made his second start of 2022, and after doing well to pitch around an RBI single in the first, he struggled in what wound up being a five-run third inning for the Shuckers. A lead-off walk and then a fielding error by third baseman CJ Alexander suddenly turned into another base-hit, eventually two more walks and then the worst possible thing that could’ve happened – a grand slam.

The M-Braves quickly started trying to chip away, though. Luke Waddell scored Drew Lugbauer from third with a groundout in the fourth, and then after back to back doubles by Jacob Pearson and Michael Harris II, in the fifth Jordan Cowan made it a 6-2 game when he slapped a ground ball to left for an RBI single.

Unfortunately, Biloxi added a seventh run in the sixth, thanks to a wild pitch by righty Odalvi Javier. Mississippi tacked on one more, though, when outfielder Jesse Franklin V knocked in Harris from a groundball single, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.

On a positive note, Harris is still on a tear with the M-Braves, having hit safely in seven-straight games now (which is every game this season). The kid currently sports a .379 AVG and 1.005 OPS.

A+ – Rome Braves (4-3)

W, 4-3 vs. Hudson Valley

(P) Andrew Hoffmann – 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 K

(Bullpen) – 4 IP, 3 H, BB, 8 K

(DH) Landon Stephens – 2 for 4, HR, RBI

(C) Tyler Tolve – 1 for 3, 2B, RBI

So righty Andrew Hoffmann was the player I focused on last night, given I hadn’t seen him pitch live yet. I came away mostly impressed with the 22-year-old, though he is a bit twitchy out there on the mound (he has a pause when pitching from the windup). Hoffmann sort of suffered from some bad luck in his one, as I believe his line could’ve been much better if for better batted-ball fortune.

In the first, it was a lead-off single, a wild-pitch and then another base-hit, which gave Hudson Valley its first run. After a 1-2-3 second, Hoffmann allowed a single and a double, boom boom, just like that in the third. And then the Renegades quickly scored two more thanks to back to back sac flies. Other than a balk, though, in the fourth, Hoffmann would go on to have much better results, finishing up the outing by setting down five-straight.

Rome got its first run from nonother than Landon Stephens, who led off the second with his third home run of the season, and the third in as many days.

The aforementioned two-run third from Hudson Valley put the Renegades up 3-1, but in the fifth prospect catcher Tyler Tolve cut the deficit to just one when he slapped a perfectly-placed double down the left field line to score Drew Campbell (who led off the frame with a two-bagger himself).

Hudson Valley finally went to its bullpen for the sixth, and perhaps it should’ve waited a bit, because as soon as the Renegades reliever came in, the R-Braves offense exploded. Prospect Vaughn Grissom led off with a single, then both Justyn-Henry Malloy and Stephens followed with base-hits of their own to load the bases, which was immediately followed by a productive trade for Rome as Campbell grounded into a double-play, giving Hudson Valley two outs in exchange for the game-tying run. In the next at-bat, the Renegades then tried to throw out Malloy who had a big lead at third, but the Hudson Valley third baseman couldn’t handle the throw, allowing Malloy to score and take the lead.

Thanks to some strong pitching by the Rome bullpen, featuring work from Malcolm Van Buren (2 IP, H, BB, 4 K), Roddery Munoz (IP, H, BB, 2 K) and Austin Smith (IP, H, 2 K), the score remained at 4-3 during the final three innings, as Rome pulled out the win.

A – Augusta GreenJackets (4-3)

W, 9-2 vs. Myrtle Beach

(P) AJ Smith-Shawver – 3 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K

(P) Kris Anglin – (W), 3 IP, BB, 5 K

(3B) Caleb Durbin – 3 for 4, RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 SB

(DH) Adam Zebrowski – 1 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI, BB

(1B) Mahki Backstrom – 1 for 2, 3B, 2 RBI, 4 BB

The GreenJackets offense broke out last night, scoring nine runs from 11 hits, compared to just three hits by Myrtle Beach. The run support was plenty for Smith-Shawver, who made his second start of the season. Smith-Shawver struggled with some control issues to start the outing, but after a pair of walks and an RBI double in the second, the 19-year-old bounced back to tally four strikeouts in the final two innings, doing a nice job preserving Augusta’s 4-2 lead when he left in the fourth.

The Pelicans starter also struggled with control problems on Friday night, allowing the first three GreenJackets to reach base, due to a walk, a hit by pitch and another walk. Adam Zebrowski then gave Augusta a 1-0 lead in the first when he popped up a sac-fly to score Caleb Durbin. The GreenJackets added another run soon after thanks to an errant throw by Myrtle Beach’s catcher. The offense struck again in the fourth, again because of Zebrowski, who knocked in two when he doubled to right. The 21-year-old Zebrowski, who the Braves drafted in the 13th round last year, is hitting a solid .286 with already six RBI in 2022.

A five-run seventh for Augusta completely broke the game wide open. Following a lead-off lineout by Antonio Barranca, a quarter of Brian Klein (triple), Durbin (RBI single), Cal Conley (single) and Stephen Paolini (walk) all reached base, one right after another, which made for a productive inning when Brandol Mezquita singled (knocking in two) and Mahki Backstrom tripled (knocking in two more). Other than a hit by pitch, Augusta’s bullpen didn’t allow a single Pelicans batter to reach base in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. A nice, easy win for the GreenJackets, who have played well during its first seven games this season


All four Braves affiliates are back it again on Saturday. Here are the probables down on the farm today…

  • Gwinnett – Tucker Davidson
  • Mississippi – Jared Shuster
  • Rome – Tanner Gordon
  • Augusta – Adam Shoemaker

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