As the Atlanta Braves officially kicked off the season Friday, many former and potential future Gwinnett players made their first appearances of 2018 Spring Training in a 6-2 loss to the New York Mets at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie.
Second baseman Ozzie Albies, a 2017 Midseason and Postseason All-Star for the Gwinnett Braves last season, lined the first pitch of the game into centerfield for a single off Mets starter Zach Wheeler. Albies then stole second but was left stranded. He ended the game 1-for-3 with a steal.
The game remained scoreless until the fifth inning when left fielder Danny Santana (1-for-3, 1 R), who re-signed with the Braves to a Minor League deal in the offseason, led off with a single. Right fielder Dustin Peterson (0-for-2), a 2017 G-Brave, reached on an error. Rising prospect catcher Alex Jackson (playing designated hitter) singled to left field, scoring Santana on an error by the left fielder.
Third base prospect Austin Riley, who replaced former G-Brave Johan Camargo (1-for-3) in the sixth inning, walked with one out in the eighth. He scored on an RBI single by rising prospect outfielder Christian Pache, who replaced former G-Brave Lane Adams (0-for-3) in the sixth.
Other 2017 G-Braves included shortstop Dansby Swanson (0-for-3, 2 SO), first baseman Rio Ruiz (0-for-3, 3 SO), outfielder Xavier Avery (0-for-2, 2 SO), catcher Kade Scivique (0-for-1), first baseman Carlos Franco (1 BB) and pinch-hitter Sean Kazmar (0-for-1).
Matt Wisler, who has spent portions of the past three seasons with Gwinnett, got the start for the Braves (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 SO). 2017 G-Brave Sam Freeman pitched a scoreless third inning with one strikeout, rising prospect Kolby Allard pitched a scoreless fifth with one walk and 2017 G-Brave Rex Brothers threw a scoreless sixth with two punchouts.
After shutting out the Mets over the first seven frames, the wheels came off for the Braves in the eighth inning, when reliever Miguel Socolovich - signed to a Minor League deal in the offseason - allowed six earned runs on three hits and three walks over two-thirds of an inning. Manager Brian Snitker brought in 2017 G-Brave Akeel Morris to close out the inning, but Morris walked in two more runs to give the Mets a 6-2 lead before getting the final out.
Socolovich took the loss, while Mets farmhand Tyler Bashlor got the win in relief.
The Braves will head to Kissimmee on Saturday to take on reigning World Series champion Houston Astros, when touted prospect Ronald Acuna is expected to make his spring debut. The team will then head to Viera to play the Washington Nationals before returning to Orlando on Monday for its Spring Training home opener.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.