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 Mississippi Braves

Game Info: Sunday, June 23 at Tennessee Smokies: 1:00 PM CT: Smokies Stadium

June 23, 2024 - Southern League (SL)
Mississippi Braves News Release

Mississippi Braves (30-37) at Tennessee Smokies (40-27)

Sunday, June 23, 2024 - 1:00 PM CT - Smokies Stadium - Kodak, TN

Game 68 of 137 - Away Game 44 of 73

Starting Pitchers: RHP Landon Harper (0-0, 2.79) vs. RHP Connor Noland (4-2, 2.83)

Watch Live: Bally Live / MiLB.TV / MLB At Bat

Listen Live: 102.1 The Box

Recent Roster Moves

6/20: INF Keshawn Ogans placed on the 7-day Injured List

6/20: OF Bryson Worrell transferred to Mississippi from Low-A Augusta

TODAY'S GAME: The Mississippi Braves and Tennessee Smokies conclude a six-game series on Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium. This is the first of two series between the two teams this season. The M-Braves and Smokies will meet for a six-game set at Trustmark Park from July 30 to August 4.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Major League infielder turned knuckleball pitcher David Fletcher turned in another quality start on Saturday night, but the Tennessee Smokies walked off with a 5-4 victory over the Mississippi Braves at Smokies Stadium. Tyler Tolve added a two-run home run, and Bryson Worrell homered for the second-straight game in the loss. Fletcher had to battle more on Saturday night in Tennessee than any of his previous three starts, but despite four 20+ pitch innings, the 30-year-old made it through the sixth inning for the second time since joining the M-Braves as a two-way player. Fletcher, who started at shortstop on Thursday, gave up a run in the first and an unearned run in the third inning, but that was all. Fletcher exited with a 4-2 Mississippi lead and 6.0 innings, two runs (one earned), six hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over a career-high 105 pitches.

VALDES LOVES THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS: Javier Valdes has homered in back-to-back games, Thursday and Friday, for the second time in his career at Smokies Stadium. Valdes homered in his first two Double-A games, August 9-10, 2022. Over 11 games at Smokies Stadium, Valdes is batting .319 with four home runs, 11 RBI, seven runs, and six walks.

FLETCH ON THE MOUND...AND INFIELD: David Fletcher was transferred from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 1 and joined the M-Braves roster as a two-way player, throwing the knuckleball ... Through four starts, Fletcher is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA)10 ER/23.1 IP), eight walks, six strikeouts, and .241 BAA, two quality starts and pitching into the sixth inning in all four outings ... The former Major League infielder has a career .276 batting average with 16 home runs, 170 RBI, and 560 hits over seven seasons and 539 MLB games ... He has played for the LA Angels (2018-23) and Atlanta Braves (2024) ... Fletcher appeared in five games for Atlanta this season in April. He made his first five pitching appearances for Gwinnett this season and appeared in 39 games as a position player. Atlanta received Fletcher via trade with the Angels in exchange for 1B Evan White and LHP Tyler Thomas (12/8/23).

PARKER POWER SURGE: The South Mississippi native Brandon Parker reached base safely in 12 straight games from May 26 to June 16. During the month of June, Parker is batting .310 with five home runs, three doubles, nine RBI, nine runs, six walks, and 1.248 OPS.

START ME UP: The M-Braves' starting pitchers have a 3.50 ERA, ranking them T-5th in Double-A. They are leading Double-A with five complete games and T-1st with three complete game shutouts.

ROAD WARRIORS: After starting the season 6-14 on the road, the M-Braves are 14-9 over their last 23 games away from Trustmark Park, including a 4-1 mark in last week's home-away-from-home series at Toyota Field. Due to last week's series being shifted from Pearl to Madison, AL, the M-Braves are in the midst of a three-week, 17-game road trip that began on June 4 at Pensacola. They won a club record nine straight games away from Pearl from May 12 to June 5. The streak included a six-game sweep in Chattanooga, May 21-26.

NEED FOR SPEED: The M-Braves lead all of Double-A in stolen bases with 121 (119-for-146) through 67 games. Five players have reached double-digit steals. Justin Dean leads the way and is 2nd in the league with 28. Geraldo Quintero is 7th with 22, Cody Milligan is T-9th with 20, and Cal Conley is 12th with 19 ... Nacho Alvarez had 16 at the time of his promotion to Triple-A. Mississippi had 157 stolen bases last season and is on pace for 247 (1.81 per game) in 2024. The most by an M-Braves team was 159 in 2007.

"MAY" BE A GOOD SIGN: After going 7-15 in April, the M-Braves completed a 16-10 May. The 16 wins in May were the 5th-most in Double-A. The Mississippi pitching staff gave up the second-fewest runs in Double-A (86) during the month and posted a 3.19 ERA. In May, starters Ian Mejia, Spencer Schwellenbach, and Hurston Waldrep combined to go 9-1 with a 0.51 ERA, four runs allowed over 70.1 innings pitched, 13 walks to 78 strikeouts.

THE MEJIA MAGIC: Ian Mejia was named Southern League Pitcher of the Month for May and was 4-0, not allowing a run in 26.2 innings, five walks to 30 strikeouts. In four starts at Trustmark Park, Mejia hasn't given up a run in 27 innings. When Ian Mejia takes the mound, the Mississippi Braves are 10-2 in his 12 starts. Mississippi's opening-day starter leads the Southern League with two shutouts and ranks among the league leaders in ERA (8th, 2.23), wins (T-2nd, 5), WHIP (10th, 1.05), and opponent's batting average (T-8th, .191). Mejia set a new club record, not allowing a run over 30.1 innings from April 28 to May 5.

M-BRAVES SWEEP CHATTANOOGA: The six-game sweep of Chattanooga, May 21-26, was the second by an M-Braves team and first since a six-game sweep of Rocket City July 12-17, 2022. The M-Braves scored 39 runs over the six games with no home runs but 18 doubles, one triple, a .299 batting average, and a .371 OBP. Nacho Alvarez hit .370 (10x27) with a double, two RBI, four runs, a walk, and three steals.

SCHWELLY TO THE SHOW: Atlanta Braves No. 3 overall prospect Spencer Schwellenbach had his contract selected by the Atlanta Braves on May 29. He made his MLB debut on May 29 vs. Washington (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO). Schwellenbach is the second M-Braves alum to make their major league debut this season, joining Tyler Ferguson, who debuted for Oakland on May 7. The right-hander is the 171st Mississippi player to make their major league debut and the 24th to be promoted directly from Double-A. Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grisson were promoted from Mississippi to Atlanta in 2022. Max Fried was the last pitcher to be promoted from the M-Braves roster in 2019.

WALDREP TO THE SHOW: RHP Hurston Waldrep was promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on May 8, and after just one start in Triple-A, he made his major league debut on June 9 at Washington. He was the 173rd player to move from Mississippi to "The Show." The Atlanta Braves' first-round pick in 2023 (24th overall) went 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA from Mississippi in May, with 31 strikeouts to seven walks.

MEJIA TOSSES FIFTH NO-HITTER IN M-BRAVES HISTORY: RHP Ian Mejia's seven-inning no-hitter in game two of the Friday, May 17 doubleheader vs. Biloxi was the fifth no-hitter in M-Braves history, and first individual one since Tommy Hanson's nine-inning no-hitter on June 25, 2008, vs. Birmingham at Trustmark Park. The M-Braves beat the Barons 6-0, and Hanson walked three and struck out 14 in the game. There have been three combined nine-inning no-hitters in team history (Julio Teheran & Tyrelle Harris, 8/2/10 vs. Mobile, Ian Anderson & Jeremy Walker, 6/28/19 vs. Jackson (TN), and Bryce Elder & Daysbel Hernandez, 7/10/21 vs. Pensacola.

FINAL SEASON IN MISSISSIPPI: On January 9, it was announced that after 20 years, 2024 will be the M-Braves' final season in Pearl, MS. As of the start of the 2025 season, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves will be relocating to Columbus, GA.

M-BRAVES REACH 1,200 WINS: The April 25, 13-3 win over Montgomery was Mississippi's 1,200th in franchise history. It took the M-Braves until the sixth game of the inaugural season in 2005 to win the first game in club history, which was an April 12, 2005, 7-4 win over the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in game two of a doubleheader at Pringles Park. Jeff Francoeur was 0-for-3, with a walk and RBI, in the game, using a five-run sixth fueled by RBIs by Scott Thorman, Francoeur, and Derrick Gibson. Brian O'Connor got the win for Mississippi.

COACHING STAFF WITH A NEW FLO: After spending one season as manager of the Braves High-A affiliate Rome Braves (Emperors), Angel Flores will take the reins for the first time at the Double-A level, succeeding Kanekoa Texeira. Texeira was promoted to manager of the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers after Matt Tuiasosopo was named to the Braves' Major League coaching staff for 2024. Flores returns to Mississippi, where he served as bench coach in 2022. Flores took over as interim manager from April 26 to May 15, 2022, while Bruce Crabbe took a leave of absence from the club. During the 18-game stretch, the M-Braves went 10-8. During his first season as a full-time manager last year, Flores led the R-Braves to a 34-32 record in the second half and an overall 64-68 mark. Rome closed the year with a 21-15 record in August and September. Overall, he holds a 74-76 record as a manager.

FINAL SEASON IN MISSISSIPPI: On January 9, it was announced that after 20 years, 2024 will be the M-Braves' final season in Pearl, MS. As of the start of the 2025 season, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves will be relocating to Columbus, GA.

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