Chapel Hill's Mikie Minor was back in Tennessee on Wednesday night, taking the hill for the Double AA Southern League Mississippi Braves versus the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx at Pringles Park in Jackson.
Minor, the number four rated minor league prospect of the Atlanta Braves tossed 87 pitches in a four inning stint.
The Forrest graduate gave up five runs on five hits while striking struck out seven and walking three.
Minor left the contest trailing 5-1, but his Braves teammates picked him up and took him off the hook, scoring six unanswered runs in a 7-5 comeback win.
"That was a good comeback", said Minor after the game. "That's two in a row for us. We started off bad at 0-4. Lately we have been hitting the ball a little bit and the bullpen worked really good tonight. I gave up those runs and the bullpen just took care of the rest. I owe it all to them getting me off the hook."
Minor started strong, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning of the Jaxx's home opener.
The Braves scored a run in the top of the second on an RBI single by catcher Orlando Mercado, staking Minor to a 1-0 lead.
In the home half of the second, Jaxx's designated hitter Mike Wilson reached on a leadoff error, but Minor quickly erased him, inducing a ground ball that turned into an around the horn double play.
Minor walked the next batter and West Tennessee took advantage, scoring two runs on a double and single off of the Braves' number one pick in last year's MLB draft.
Minor talked about the double he gave up to Alex Liddi in the inning, saying, "I threw a two seam I have been working on and it didn't move at all, so I need to work on that. I mean just lessons learned about setting up hitters and kind of work on stuff, but it doesn't do well when you are still working on it and you don't know when to throw it or you can't throw it where you want to."
The big lefty from Marshall County took the hill for the third and gave up another run on a walk, a single, and another double, but also displayed his great ability, striking out three.
In the fourth, Minor gave up a home run to leadoff hitter Liddi on a 3-1 count and talked about it afterward.
"Obviously sitting dead red fastball, 3-1 count," said Minor. "I had already walked a couple guys and I told myself all right I am not gonna walk this guy. In hindsight, I probably should have thrown a change-up or off speed pitch because the guy (Liddi) last year hit thirty bombs."
Minor was undaunted after the homerun, showing great poise by whiffing the next two batters before issuing a walk to the Seattle Mariners number one pick Dustin Ackley.
Ackley was nailed, trying to steal second base, putting an end to Minor's night on the mound.
The Braves won the game by scoring one run in the fifth, four in the sixth, and a lone tally in the ninth while the bullpen combination all got firsts on the year with Bill Gustafson getting the win, Lee Hyde receiving the hold, and fireman Stephen Marek finishing the job for the save.
There were several people at the game from Chapel Hill, including Minor's parents and some of his friends from Freed-Hardeman and UT Martin.
Minor said about his night in Tennessee, "It could have been better, obviously, but it was nice. I had some friends here, family's here, back at home in Tennessee. The guys from UT Martin made the trip over and it was nice of them to come."
You can follow Minor's 2010 minor league journey and see his stats and the team's schedule at mississippibraves.com.
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