Braves Minor League Recap: Braden Shewmake walks off Jacksonville to take first game of MiLB season

Apr 1, 2023 - 2:00 PM
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Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

It’s funny how quickly the script can flip on any given day in baseball.

One minute you’re donning a golden sombrero after a disastrous day at the plate and the next, you’re being mobbed by your teammates as you cross home plate after hitting a walk-off homer.

That was precisely how Braden Shewmake’s day unfolded for the Gwinnett Stripers as they kicked off the 2023 minor league campaign on Friday night.

Gwinnett Stripers 8, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 5

Box score:

  • Chadwick Tromp, C: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-3, 3B, 3 runs scored
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 1-5, HR, 3 RBI
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Minor league baseball is officially back and the Gwinnett Stripers wasted no time in putting those Friday fireworks to the test, albeit waiting until the late going to string together meaningful offense en route to an 8-5 victory over Jacksonville.

Bryce Elder got the start on the mound for the Stripers, and while he allowed a run in the first inning after giving up a pair of singles, that would be the only blemish the 23-year-old righthander would allow through the first five innings.

Trailing 1-0 headed into the home half of the fourth inning, the Stripers would take their first lead of the season after a Jordan Luplow sac fly tied things up and a Forrest Wall triple would score Chadwick Tromp to make it 2-1 Gwinnett.

That lead would hold until the sixth inning, when Elder would surrender a three-run home run to Jerar Encarnacion, making it 4-2 Jacksonville. Danny Young would relieve Elder in the top of the seventh inning, ending his first start of the season.

Gwinnett would take their second lead of the night in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Eli White would lead off the inning with a single into centerfield and Vaughn Grissom and Luplow would sandwich a pair of walks around a Shewmake strikeout to load the bases. Tromp would single home two runs and Wall would follow with an RBI groundout to make it 5-4 Stripers headed into the final frame.

Clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, three outs is all that separated the Stripers from their first victory of the year. But the bullpen would falter as Ty Tice would allow a solo homer to Austin Allen, tying things up at five apiece.

In the bottom half, seeking to avoid extra innings, Josh Fuentes kicked things off with a leadoff single, followed by a Justin Dean flyout and an Eli White groundout. After Fuentes moved up to second base on the Dean flyout, Jacksonville elected to intentionally walk Vaughn Grissom to set up a force out situation.

But Braden Shewmake had other plans as the second baseman launched a 1-0 fastball over the right-centerfield fence deep into the Gwinnett night for a three-run home run to put the cap on the 8-5 victory for the Stripers.

Gwinett will take on Jacksonville in game two of the series on Saturday with Jackson Stephens slated as the probable starter for the Stripers.

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