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Tucker Davidson K’s 9 for Gwinnett, along with another strong start for Augusta’s AJ Smith-Shawver

Tucker Davidson K’s 9 for Gwinnett, along with another strong start for Augusta’s AJ Smith-Shawver

Man did the Braves need that win against the Mets on Wednesday. Atlanta is so much better than it has played so far this season, and it has been frustrating to watch them struggle. But while the Braves pulled a big win versus its division rival, the farm only managed to win one of four last night. Here’s a look at all the action from Wednesday…

AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (12-14)

L, 9-6 vs. Charlotte

(P) Tucker Davidson – 6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, HR

(C) Chadwick Tromp – 2, for 4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

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

(2B/SS) Ryan Goins – 1 for 3, 2B, R, BB

The Stripers faced a rehabbing Johnny Cueto on Wednesday. And despite getting to the 36-year-old major league veteran for four runs off six hits, Charlotte rallied in the seventh to win.

Gwinnett’s starter, prospect Tucker Davidson, kicked off this game pitching real well, setting down 11 of the first 12 batters he faced, before giving up an RBI double and a three-run home run in the fourth. However, the Stripers offense had given Tuck a bit of a cushion to work with. Two innings prior to that ugly fourth, Chadwick Tromp hit his third homer in two days when he smacked a three-run blast to left-center.

Two batters after Tromp’s dinger, Delino DeShields made it 4-0 in the second when he slapped an RBI groundball single to center, scoring Ryan Goins (who had doubled).

But with Charlotte’s big fourth, this one was tied 4-4 through four – until the seventh, when the Knights pulled away for good. Thomas Burrows replaced Davidson to begin the seventh, and unfortunately, Burrows just didn’t have it, as he hit the first batter he faced, then allowed a pair of singles with a sac-fly in between. Burrows only got one out before being replaced by Brandon Brennan, who proceeded to immediately give up a three-run double. By the time Gwinnett got out of the seventh, they were down 9-4.

The Stripers had one more push from them in the ninth. DeShields knocked in another run, when he doubled to right to score Greyson Jenista. And Pat Valaika joined the action by pushing in Tromp with an RBI groundout.

It looks like after making his return on Tuesday, prospect outfielder Drew Waters was given the day off on Wednesday. For Tuck Davidson, that’s now back to back outings in which he’s allowed more than two runs, as his ERA for the 2022 season is up to 5.06 in 21 1/3 innings overall. Along with getting knocked around by righty batters (who own a .797 OPS, compared to a .562 for LHB), Davidson has struggled mightily so far this year with runners on the bases, which just compounds the problems; entering yesterday’s start, opposing batters had slashed 306/381/528 against Tuck – good for a .909 OPS.

AA – Mississippi Braves (9-14)

L, 8-3 vs. Pensacola

(P) Tanner Gordon – (L), 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 2 HR

Bullpen – 8 1/3 IP, 3 H, BB, 8 K

(1B) Drew Lugbauer – 1 for 3, 2B, R, BB

(CF) Michael Harris II – 1 for 4, R, SB

(C) Logan Brown – 2 for 4, RBI

Maybe a jinxed him by writing a profile piece on him before the game last night, but Tanner Gordon’s Double-A debut wound up becoming a disaster. The righty couldn’t make it out of the second inning, after allowing five runs in the first (from six hits), to go with another four walks, two RBI sac-flies and a wild pitch in the second. Maybe it was nerves, but Gordon just didn’t have it on Wednesday, and as a result, the M-Braves found themselves down 8-0 heading into the bottom-half of the second inning.

But Mississippi did its best to climb back into this one. Following a lead-off double by Drew Lugbauer, two batters later catcher Logan Brown slapped a ground ball double in between first and second to score Lugbauer and cut the deficit to seven.

Then, in the third, prospect Michael Harris II extended his on base streak to 23 games when he led off the frame with a single. Harris stole second and was knocked in by Luke Waddell, who lined a base-hit to right.

Those 11 runs by both teams would go on to be all each club could muster on Wednesday, as both bullpens did a nice job of holding the game where it was. For the M-Braves, the relief group included Troy Bacon, Odalvi Javier, Tyler Ferguson and Indigo Diaz, who, as shown above, worked 8 2/3 scoreless inning.

For Harris last night, he of course didn’t just contribute with the bat and his legs – the kid also made an impressive play in center in the fifth, running down a line drive and making the over-the-shoulder catch to potentially prevent one Pensacola run from scoring.

While Michael Harris continues to rake for the M-Braves, Trey Harris has not so far in 2022. T. Harris went hitless last night, giving him a .135 AVG and .466 OPS this season, as he has lost nearly all of his prospect stock. If you remember, Trey was the Braves minor league Player of the Year back in 2019. But since then, he just hasn’t been the same guy. Hopefully he can get things turned around.

A+ – Rome Braves (14-9)

W, 9-5 (F/10) vs. Greenville

(P) Jake McSteen – 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K, HR

(SS) Cade Bunnell – 2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

(C) Javier Valdes – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB

(3B) Justyn-Henry Malloy – 2 for 5, RBI

(CF) Cody Milligan – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI, SB

(2B) Beau Philip – 1 for 5, 2 RBI, R, SB

Jake McSteen made the start for Rome on Wednesday, and overall he pitched well, limiting Greenville to just two runs from two hits. Pretty much all of the Drives damage came in the second, when McSteen allowed a two-run home run. Following that two-run second inning, the R-Braves southpaw retired Greenville in order in the third, ending his day with 51 pitches and three innings of work.

Down 2-0 in the third, Rome needed some runs. Thankfully, third baseman Justyn-Henry Malloy delivered with a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to just one. Then in the fourth, the R-Braves bats began to heat up. Bryson Horne led off with a walk, and two batters and a wild pitch later, Javier Valdes drew a free pass, putting two runners on. The next batter, Cade Bunnell, quickly emptied those bases by slugging his second homer of the season, and Rome led 4-2.

Rome made it 5-2 in the fifth, thanks to an RBI single by Beau Philip that scored Drew Campbell.

However, Greenville scored one run in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth, giving us a tied ballgame through nine innings. But fortunately for Rome, extras went by rather quickly, as the R-Braves offense pushed across four runs in the tenth. The first six Rome batters put the ball in play to begin extra innings, and of those six batted-balls, all but one found a safe place to land, including a two-run homer by Valdes to make it an 8-5 lead for the good guys.

Three batters later, Cody Milligan gave us our final when he doubled home Bunnell, as this Rome team continues to swing the bat well in 2022.

Save for Christian Robinson, every R-Braves batter in the lineup recorded at least one hit on Wednesday, and five different batters finished with a multi-hit performance. It looks like prospect Vaughn Grissom had the day off, but Bunnell played awesome at short last night. The 24-year-old’s five total bases on Wednesday was a season-high, as was his 3 RBI, as Bunnell was in desperate need of a good game, coming into yesterday’s contest with just a .133 AVG for the year.

A – Augusta GreenJackets (12-11)

L, 4-3 vs. Carolina

(P) AJ Smith-Shawver – 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

(RF) Connor Blair – 1 for 2, HR, 2 RBI

(CF) Brandol Mezquita – 1 for 4, SB

(DH) Adam Zebrowski – 1 for 3, RBI, R, BB

It was mainly a pitcher’s duel between Augusta’s AJ Smith-Shawver and Carolina’s Ryne Moore, as both starters combined to strike out 14 in 11 innings of work. For Smith-Shawver, Wednesday’s solid outing was his second good one in a row, as he punched out seven in his last start. Perhaps he’s getting into mid-season form now.

Both teams traded zeroes in the first and second inning, but in the third the GreenJackets finally broke through when Caleb Durbin led off and reached base on an error. Three batters later, Adam Zebrowski scored Durbin with an RBI groundout, and just like that Augusta led 1-0.

That one-run lead held for a few innings, though in the fifth the Mudcats started to get to Smith-Shawver. Carolina led off the inning with a single, followed by back to back doubles two batters later, and then an RBI single to take a 3-1 lead. It was a rough frame for the Augusta pitcher as, along with a walk, he tallied two wild pitches in the inning.

But in the eighth the GreenJackets seemed determined to come back. Zebrowski drew a lead-off walk and was then followed by a two-out, two-run home run by Conner Blair – his first of the 2022 season. But unfortunately the 3-3 tie didn’t last long. Against Rolddy Munoz in the ninth, the Mudcats followed up a lead-off strikeout by slapping a double and an RBI single, walking it off for the 4-3 win.

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