Spencer Strider punches out a dozen in Rome’s loss; Braden Shewmake tallies first three-hit game of 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021

-Clint Manry

Hey! The big league team has outscored its opponent by a tally of 13-1 during its first two games of the current series, resulting in back-to-back wins and a chance to win the four-game set tonight. That’s a MUCH better situation than just a few days ago. So while we’re all in a great mood, let’s dive into the Braves minor league action from Friday night…

SS, Orlando Arcia / Image from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(21-19) Gwinnett Stripers 

W, 8-7 (F/10) vs. Nashville 

SP, J. De La Cruz – 3 ⅓ IP, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

SS, O. Arcia – 3 for 5, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI

CF, C. Pache – 1 for 5, 2 R, SB

BOX SCORE 

Friday the Stripers won in walk-off fashion for the third time this season, though this time it happened after trailing by a whopping six runs entering the 4th inning. And it was none other than shortstop Orlando Arcia who scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th, advancing all the way from second when the Sounds Keston Hiura made an errant throw to first during a double-play attempt. The most impressive aspect of that final play, though, was probably how Jonathan Lucroy was somehow able to put the bat to the ball on a pitch that appeared to have (or nearly) bounced at the plate.

As has usually been the case this season, Arcia was heavily involved in Gwinnett’s win, and Lucroy never would’ve had the opportunity to knock in the winning run in the 10th if it wasn’t for the former’s RBI double to tie the game two batters prior. Arcia also tallied his 11th home run of 2021 back in the 4th when he demolished a hanging breaking ball over the left-center wall. I swear… his homers just seem to travel 20-30 feet further than everyone else’s.

For example (though it was hit on a line to dead-center), Travis Snider’s homer in the 6th was far less spectacular, even if it put Gwinnett within two. 

I came into last night’s game hoping this was the start that would begin Jasseel De La Cruz’s turnaround. But for the third consecutive outing the 23-year-old allowed four or more runs. De La Cruz was greeted with a lead-off home run to begin the game, and though he settled down to pitch a strong 2nd frame, Nashville jumped all over him in the 3rd with five runs from five hits, including another long ball (which happened to be a grand-slam). Friday was the first time this season De La Cruz surrendered two homers in a start, and he’ll enter his next outing with a 6.28 ERA for the year. 

Following De La Cruz’s exit with one out in the 4th, the Stripers sent its relievers out in droves and all but completely shut down the Sounds. Dylan Lee, Mitch Horacek, Ty Tice, Jesse Chavez and Yoan Lopez all combined to work the final 6 ⅔ innings in scoreless fashion, including just four hits allowed and 10 strikeouts. Half of those punch outs by the bullpen came from Chavez alone who pitched both the 8th and 9th. 

SS, Braden Shewmake / Image from OurSports Central

(23-17) Mississippi Braves 

W, 8-4 vs. Birmingham 

SP, N. Kingham – (W), 6 IP, 3 H, 6 K

SS, B. Shewmake – 3 for 4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI

RF, T. Neslony – 1 for 3, RBI, R

BOX SCORE 

Make it 15 wins in their last 20 games as Mississippi’s big 2nd inning resulted in yet another victory last night. I was able to catch a few innings of this one, and I just so happened to tune in right as that fruitful 2nd got started. The M-Braves sent nine batters to the plate and came away with five runs, highlighted by an RBI double by prospect Braden Shewmake, who had a huge game.

Mississippi tacked on a run apiece in both the 3rd and 4th as well, and perhaps no run was more important than the one that came from Shewmake’s bat. The struggling shortstop belted his first long ball at Trustmark Park this season and fourth of 2021 overall to put his team up 6-0. To me, that it was an oppo-shot just shows how well he’s seeing the ball right now. 

Justin Dean, Wendell Rijo and Tyler Neslony all each provided an RBI as well last night.

But one of my biggest takeaways from the game was starter Nolan Kingham and his gem on the mound. This was the third outing in a row in which the righty went at least six innings, not to mention his fourth time doing so in his last six starts. Kingham also hasn’t allowed a run in his last 14 ⅔ frames.

Kingham has been more of a pitch-to-contact pitcher so far in 2021, but last night he displayed some of his swing-and-miss stuff as he tied a season-high in strikeouts with six. 

Prospect reliever Daysbel Hernandez got in some work Friday, though he allowed a pair of runs from four hits in the 9th. That’s twice in his last three appearances he’s allowed multiple runs, so hopefully he bounces back next time around.

OF, Michael Harris / Image from Talking Chop

(20-20) Rome Braves

L, 7-5 (F/11) vs. Bowling Green 

SP, S. Strider – 6 IP, H, ER, BB, 12 K, HR

RF, J. Franklin – 3 for 4, 2B, RBI

CF, M. Harris – 2 for 6, 2B, R

BOX SCORE 

Man it’s a shame Rome couldn’t give Spencer Strider the win last night as the 22-year-old righty racked up a dozen more strikeouts for the season, giving him a ridiculous 56 punch outs through his first 30 innings between both Augusta and Rome. 

The Hot Rods didn’t record a hit against Strider until the 4th and it was a solo homer, but by then the R-Braves had built up a 3-1 lead. In fact, following Bowling Green’s half of the 4th, Rome added a fourth run when Logan Brown slapped an RBI single, and with the way Strider was pitching, you would’ve thought the three-run advantage would hold.

However, in the 8th, against the R-Braves Gabriel Noguera, Bowling Green pushed across three runs to tie it, resulting in extra-innings. I’m sure Rome’s kicking themselves for not just leaving reliever Indigo Diaz in for the 11th on Friday, because following his hitless 10th inning, Tyler Ferguson served up a double to the first batter he faced in that final frame, allowing the Hot Rods to take a 5-4 lead. A two-run homer two batters later gave Bowling Green three runs in the inning and it was all but over. However, Rome did manage a run in its half as Cody Milligan knocked in Beau Philip with an RBI single… but that was all the offense could muster. 

Regardless, outfielders Jesse Franklin V and Michael Harris both deserve a round of applause as they combined to go 5 for 10 at the plate last night. Franklin has now hit safely in nine-straight and is on track to push his AVG to (or above) .300 in the next game or two (which is crazy considering he entered June hitting just .200).

SRP Park

(18-22) Augusta GreenJackets 

L, 5-0 vs. Columbia 

SP, J. Johnson – (L), 3 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K

2B, C. Shepherd – 1 for 3

LF, B. Parker – 1 for 3

BOX SCORE 

The GreenJackets lost its third-straight contest on Friday, this time in shutout fashion as the offense was held to just three hits altogether. Fireflies starter Ben Hernandez (the 24th ranked prospect in the Royals system) was sharp in this one, striking out seven and walking only one in his five-inning two-hitter. Then Columbia’s bullpen piled on by punching out an additional five Augusta batters over the next four frames, including just one hit allowed.

A single by Cam Shepherd in the 3rd, a base-hit by Ricardo Rodriguez in the 5th and a line drive single by Brandon Parker in the 7th was all the GreenJackets could manage last night. 

20-year-old righty Jared Johnson got the start for Augusta on Friday, just his second of the 2021 season. A stressful opening inning that featured three singles and a run caused Johnson to rack up 54 pitches in three frames. But overall he did well with limiting big hits from Columbia. Johnson gave way to reliever Zach Seipel and Chad Bryant, and both gave up runs in their respective appearances, making it a 5-0 game by the time Benjamin Dum entered for the 8th. Dum then immediately got the GreenJackets out of the inning as he induced a double-play and a flyout to give Augusta’s offense one more chance to come back in the 9th… but as we know… it didn’t happen. 


As of late Friday night, so far tonight’s slate is set to be Hayden Deal on the mound for Mississippi and Bryce Elder for Rome. 

Drew Waters sits for fifth consecutive game; Jesse Franklin keeps up hot June

June 17, 2021

-Clint Manry

As has been a recurring theme this season, the Braves coughed up a lead in the latter-innings and lost last night against the Red Sox. That team is getting really difficult to watch. However, it was a system-wide, four-game sweep down on the farm as all of the full-season affiliates won its games.

Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s Braves minor league action…


(20-18) Gwinnett Stripers

W, 9-3 vs. Nashville

SP, C. Johnstone – 2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K

LF, J. Kipnis – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI

1B, J. Camargo – 2 for 4, 3B, 2B, RBI

BOX SCORE 

The big news prior to Gwinnett’s game yesterday was the major league call-up of prospect pitcher Kyle Muller, who wound up making his debut for the Braves versus the Red Sox on Wednesday night. According to Stripers media relations manager Dave Lezotte, Muller is the 102nd Gwinnett player to go on to pitch in the majors and the first this season. Cool stuff.

As for the game itself, once again there was no Drew Waters in the Stripers starting lineup, the fifth consecutive game he has missed. The prospect outfielder is dealing with a sore thumb so this extended absence shouldn’t be anything to worry about, although it’s unfortunate given how great he was at the plate.

With Connor Johnstone getting the start on Wednesday, Gwinnett went with a bullpen game that featured five relievers. This one was actually a tight game up until the 8th, when the Stripers offense broke out for four runs, including a three-run home run by a pinch-hitting Yolmer Sanchez to extend the Stripers lead from three to six. Veteran Jason Kipnis also went deep in yesterday’s win as he belted a two-run homer in the 5th to put Gwinnett up 4-2.

To make it a typical offensive game for the Stripers, Philip Ervin also homered, giving the team three long balls for the night. Home runs are always the best, and that was especially true on Wednesday considering Nashville actually outhit Gwinnett 13-7. So far this season the Stripers are 16-10 when hitting at least one homer.

The bullpen was strong as well for Gwinnett yesterday as it struck out eight and walked just one. Tanner Roark, Chasen Bradford, Ty Tice, Thomas Burrows and Trevor Kelley all combined for seven innings. And though the group allowed 11 hits altogether, it only resulted in two runs by the Sounds.

Also, look out… Johan Camargo is red hot at the plate. His season AVG is now up to .316, but over his last seven games he’s 12 for 25 (.480 AVG) with 19 total bases. It sure would be nice if that kind of success would translate to the majors. It’s hard to believe Johan is 27-years-old now.


(21-17) Mississippi Braves

W, 2-1 vs. Birmingham 

SP, A. Puckett – (W), 5 IP, 4 H, BB, 6 K

CF, J. Dean – 1 for 3, RBI

RP, J. Graham – IP, 3 K

BOX SCORE 

Mississippi only managed three hits last night (compared to eight by Birmingham), but an RBI single by Justin Dean all the way back in the 3rd inning wound up being the key hit that made the difference. 

The other notable part of this game was the continued sniping done by catcher Shea Langeliers behind the plate as he threw out two more would-be base stealers.

No. 1…

… and no. 2…

For Langeliers, that now gives him a caught-stealing rate of 58.6% for this season, which is an absolutely ridiculous number when considering the average in the big leagues is usually somewhere around 30%. Langeliers also tallied one of the M-Braves trio of hits on offense. 

Shortstop Braden Shewmake went hitless last night but he did notch his 11th RBI of the year when he scored Greyson Jenista from home on a ground-ball out to shortstop in the 3rd. 

The 26-year-old A.J. Puckett — who was actually a 2nd round pick by the Royals back in 2016 — notched his first win in an M-Braves uniform this season. Prior to his late-May promotion from High-A to Double-A, Puckett primarily worked out of Rome’s bullpen. But with Mississippi he has been used solely as a starter, and it’s been successful so far as Puckett’s four hits allowed last night were the most he’s surrendered in a given start during his time with the M-Braves — a span of five outings and 20 ⅓ innings. 

Matt Withrow relieved Puckett in the 6th and worked two innings, allowing a run from three hits. But the Barons never threatened again as Josh Graham entered in the 8th and nearly notched an immaculate inning as he struck out three B-Ham batters with just 11 pitches (nine strikes). Brandon White picked up his seventh save of the season by tossing a scoreless 9th. 


(20-18) Rome Braves

W, 5-0 vs. Bowling Green 

SP, J. Shuster – 4 IP, H, BB, 6 K

1B, B. Ball – 1 for 4, 2B, RBI 

RF, J. Franklin – 2 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB

BOX SCORE 

Surprisingly, Rome’s win on Wednesday was the team’s first shut-out victory of the 2021 campaign. Starter Jared Shuster, plus a trio of stud relievers — Zach Daniels, Kasey Kalich and Indigo Diaz — combined to strike out 13 Bowling Green batters and allow just two hits over five frames. Shuster’s scoreless one-hitter through four innings drops his season ERA from 4.09 to 3.00 as the 22-year-old continues to impress with the R-Braves. The kid now has 21 strikeouts and just four walks in 15 innings. 

The current run that outfield prospect Jesse Franklin V is on deserves its own article as he’s now up to a .272 AVG and .803 OPS this season, thanks to an eight-game hitting streak and a crazy hot month of June (.400 AVG & .971 OPS). The former 3rd round pick just continues to crush left-handed pitchers, and last night Franklin was involved in mostly all of Rome’s scoring as he tallied two RBI and scored a run. And on the other end of the spectrum, it was nice to see Bryce Ball contribute with an RBI double. The 22-year-old Ball has mostly struggled this season but he seems to be heating up; Wednesday’s two-bagger marked his second-straight game with a double.


(18-20) Augusta GreenJackets

W, 7-5 vs. Columbia 

SP, J. McSteen – (W), 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K

1B, L. Stephens – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI

RF, W. Carter – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R

BOX SCORE 

Columbia nearly came back in the 9th, scoring three runs after entering the frame down 7-2, but Augusta preserved it’s lead in what was a strong performance from its offense.

Down 2-0 after three innings, the GreenJackets proceeded to answer with six unanswered runs, beginning with two in the 4th, one apiece in the 5th and 6th, and then two in the 7th. Four different Augusta batters finished with a multi-hit game as Willie Carter led with three hits, followed by 2 for 4 performances from all of Vaughn Grissom, Victor De Hoyos and Bryson Horne. The hitting just continues for Carter, who, after last night’s hat trick now has a .339 AVG entering Thursday. 

Starter Jake McSteen got his first opportunity in Single-A on Wednesday, and he pitched well with five strikeouts in five innings. McSteen — 25-years-old — was signed to a minor league deal by the Braves back in early May and spent a short time in Rome before receiving his current assignment. The left-handed McSteen is coming off an impressive 2020 campaign in the Independent League, where he posted a 2.70 ERA to go with 9.4 strikeouts per nine in 50 innings as a member of the Joliet Slammers starting rotation. 

Relievers Luis Santos, James Acuna and Ben Thompson pitched the final four innings and impressively struck out eight. Although, following scoreless appearances from both Santos and Acuna, Thompon was nearly a victim of the mentioned above comeback as he surrendered three runs and a homer in the final inning.


Probables that have been listed as of Wednesday night for today’s slate of games include Jose Rodriguez for Mississippi and Alan Rangel for Rome. 

Bryse Wilson strikes out season-high in Gwinnett’s win, while Touki Toussaint makes first rehab appearance for Rome

June 16, 2021

Clint Manry

Tuesday was a rough day down on the farm as offense across the board seemed mostly dead. Although, for a few teams at least, that just meant the starting pitching needed to step up. 

Here’s a recap of yesterday’s Braves minor league action…


Gwinnett Stripers (19-18)

W, 2-1 vs. Nashville 

SP, B. Wilson – (W), 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 9 K

RF, P. Ervin – 1 for 2, RBI, BB

C, J. Lucroy – 1 for 4, R

BOX SCORE 

Righty Bryse Wilson bounced back from one of his worst starts last week as he struck out a season-high nine Nashville batters last night. And for the first time in 2021 (after seven tries), the Stripers have now beaten the Sounds. Tuesday’s series-opening win also gives Gwinnett’s its 800th win as a franchise, so that’s pretty cool. 

The game itself, save for Wilson’s gem of course, didn’t offer much. In fact, Nashville’s offense actually out-hit Gwinnett’s in this one by a tally of 8-4. However, tied at one apiece in the 5th, Cristian Pache led off with a walk, and following a single by Orlando Arcia, the prospect outfielder was able to score the go-ahead run when Arcia got caught in a rundown between first and second. The Stripers only other run was pretty boring as well as it occurred when Philip Ervin drew a bases-loaded walk in the 4th.

This was yet another Drew Waters-less game as Travis Snider got the start in left field. And other than the players already listed, Ryan Goins was the only other Gwinnett batter to record a hit.

The trio of Dylan Lee, Yoan Lopez and Jesse Chavez combined to work the final three innings of the win, collectively allowing just three hits, no runs and striking out two. 


Mississippi Braves (20-17)

L, 7-0 vs. Birmingham 

SP, O. Javier – (L), 5 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K

CF, J. Dean – 1 for 3, 2B, BB

RF, T. Harris – 1 for 3, BB

BOX SCORE 

Birmingham greeted Mississippi with a thumping last night as the M-Braves begin a 12-game homestand. The Barrons held Mississippi to just three hits altogether and it’s starter, Kade McClure (former 6th round pick), tossed a five-inning one-hitter.

And up until the 5th inning, Mississippi’s starter Odalvi Javier went frame by frame against McClure as it appeared he was going to put together yet another strong pitching performance. However, a hit-batsman and three singles spoiled Javier’s strong outing, and after walking a batter in the 6th with one out, his day was done. Javier’s seven strikeouts last night gives him four starts now (of seven total) with six or more punch outs.

For Mississippi’s offense, the three hits came from the lineup’s nos. 2-4 hitters and Monday’s Farm Bureau Batter of the Week Justin Dean provided the only XBH, his 10th double of the season (tying him for the second-most in the league). Outfielder Trey Harris and catcher Shea Langeliers contributed with the other pair of hits. 

Following Javier’s exit with two outs to go in the 5th, reliever Emmanual Ramirez finished the frame. The 7th and 8th innings were covered by Sean McLaughlin, though he continued his inconsistencies as he allowed four-straight hits at one point, including a solo-homer that resulted in five earned runs altogether. With the game all but out of reach, Kurt Hoekstra worked a hitless 9th. 


Rome Braves (19-18)

L, 7-3 vs. Bowling Green 

SP, T. Touissant – 3 IP, H, ER, BB, 2 K, HR

RF, J. Franklin – 2 for 3, HR, 2 RBI

SS, B. Philip – 1 for 3, 2B, R

BOX SCORE

Tuesday was an important day for righty Touki Toussaint as he completed the first step to making his way back from a shoulder strain that has kept him on the sidelines all season. He only threw 28 pitches (18 strikes) yesterday, but it was a very welcoming sign, nonetheless. Touki induced three-straight ground-ball outs in the 1st, worked around a lead-off solo-homer in the 2nd and then faced the minimum again in the 3rd. The Braves can either stretch Touki out and see if he can eventually help out the big league starting rotation, or he could soon become another option out of Atlanta’s bullpen. Regardless, Touki is very much needed at this point. 

Before this one got out of hand and Bowling Green stacked up six runs on Freddy Tarnok in the 4th and 5th innings, outfielder Jesse Franklin V kept his strong 2021 season going by knocking in a run in the 2nd to tie the ballgame.

Franklin would also come through in the 4th with his sixth home run of the season as part of a two-hit night, but his long ball to put Rome within one at that point was as close as the R-Braves got before the Hot Rods broke away. Both Beau Philip and Bryce Ball also contributed with a double apiece in the loss, and catcher Logan Brown joined Franklin by finishing with a multi-hit game. Prospect outfielder Michael Harris tallied a single in four tries.

The poor showing by Tarnok shouldn’t be much of a concern. The 22-year-old righty was just recently assigned to Rome so last night’s appearance was only his second of the season. Following Tarnok’s exit, the trio of Davis Schwab, Trey Riley and Coleman Huntley finished the game, combining to allow just two hits in 4 ⅔ innings.


Augusta GreenJackets (17-20)

L, 4-3 vs. Columbia 

SP, J. Estes – (L), 6 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR

DH, B. Parker – 1 for 4, 2B, R

SS, C. Shepherd – 1 for 3, R, SB

BOX SCORE 

The GreenJackets kicked off its week with a rough showing on offense as Augusta’s lineup tallied just three hits last night. And for the first time all season, prospect pitcher Joey Estes allowed more than one run in a start, although his streak of three hits allowed or less impressively stays alive. The six innings by Estes on Tuesday was a season-high, and the righty was efficient as he needed just 76 pitches (52 strikes).

Last night’s DH Brandon Parker put the GreenJackets up by one in the 2nd when he scored on a wild-pitch, but Columbia answered back with two runs in the 3rd. In Augusta’s half of the 6th, first baseman Landon Stephens and outfielder Willie Carter pushed the Jackets ahead with an RBI single and sac-fly, respectively, but the two-run homer served up by Estes in the bottom-half of the frame spoiled the team’s comeback. 

Miguel Pena relieved Estes for the 7th and tossed two scoreless innings. 


As of late Tuesday night, today’s announced probables so far are A.J. Puckett for Mississippi and Jared Shuster for Rome. 

Shea Langeliers keeps hitting in Mississippi’s shutout win

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

BOX SCORE

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

BOX SCORE

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

BOX SCORE

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.