The Braves played to their fourth tie this spring by reaching a 4-4 score after 11 innings against the Marlins.
Nate McLouth went 2-5 with a double and RBI to raise his spring average to .304. The double came in the first inning, and the RBI came on a single in the third as part of a three-run inning. The other two runs scored on a Freddie Freeman home run and Chipper Jones RBI single.
The Braves were down 4-3 and came down to their final out when Brandon Hicks hit a solo home run off Victor Garate to tie the game at four. The score remained the same until the two teams called it after 11 innings.
The homer was Hicks' first this spring, and it adds to a pretty decent Spring Training for the infielder. Freeman's homer came off Ricky Nolasco, and it was his second this spring. He is moving along at a decent pace.
Ed Lucas flew out in his only at bat, coming in at third base in extra innings. Matt Young came in to left field for an inning but didn't hit. Joe Mather hit in his place, striking out in both trips. Brooks Conrad also struck out in his two trips. Wilkin Ramirez popped out to third in his only at bat.
Tim Hudson's sinker moved well today, inducing 10 groundouts to two flyouts, walking two and striking out four. He allowed one run on four hits in six innings. The run came in the first inning when Dewayne Wise doubled, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout. He gave up one other double to Brett Hayes in the second, but he was left on third. After two perfect innings, Hudson allowed a single and walk in the fifth but left both in their place. He also allowed a single in the sixth but induced a double play to end his outing.
George Sherrill was knocked around in the seventh, allowing three runs on four hits. The Marlins loaded the bases before Sherrill recorded an out. A groundout scored one, followed by a two-run double by Wise. Sherrill followed with another single and hit by pitch before ending the inning. He was all over the place and had nothing today against either side of the plate.
Jonny Venters continued his amazing spring streak with another perfect inning in the eighth, striking out two. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth, striking out one. Juan Abreu gave up a two-out double to Greg Dobbs before ending the 10th. Jairo Asencio allowed a single in the 11th but no runs.
Nothing was really gained or lost across the board. Young, Lucas, Ramirez and Conrad either didn't do anything or struck out. It's tough to make a decision based on that. But it is obvious these are the four the Braves are pulling from.
Sherrill's outing probably won't change anything. He hasn't been great this spring, but again, he is facing batters from both sides just trying to get into a rhythm. He will be on the roster.
The fact that the Braves went Venters, Kimbrel, Abreu and Asencio just shows how lethal the Braves relief group is. The last two won't make the team, but they could easily make a big league roster for another team. It's always good to see the combination of Venters and Kimbrel mow through the eighth and ninth innings.