The Braves looked to be left for dead late last night. Phillies ace, Zack Wheeler had a no-hitter going into the sixth and Atlanta trailed 4-0. However, when the night concluded fans couldn’t contain their excitement from the iconic moment the Braves’ third baseman delivered. In the end, Riley’s go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth held up a thrilling 5-4 Braves comeback win.
For a player who received the largest contract in Braves franchise history, Riley hasn’t exactly piled up the postseason memories you might’ve expected. Although Riley is still a very young player, he has been in the playoffs each season in his big league career. So, let’s compare the iconic homer from last night, and see how that holds up with the other great postseason moments Riley has brought Braves country.
2020 NLCS Game One Home Run
The first big moment came in the 2020 shortened covid season. The Braves had to battle the mighty Dodgers in the NLCS and game one was a pitching duel. It was deadlocked at one run until a young Austin Riley produced his first big homer.
Riley absolutely launched a go-ahead home run in the ninth off one of the nastiest relievers in baseball, Blake Treinen, and sprung the Braves to a big game-one win. Had this series played out differently, this may be regarded as THE best playoff moment of Riley’s career.
2021 NLCS Game One Walk-Off
One year after heartbreak, it was once again a Braves/Dodgers NLCS. This time around it was a plucky new look 88-win Braves team, hosting the 100-plus-win Dodgers in game one. In 2021, Austin Riley established himself as an everyday big leaguer. No longer did he find himself near the bottom of the lineup.
By season's end, Riley entrenched himself in the top half of the Braves dangerous lineup, and once again he got his moment to shine against Treinen in October. In a game one tied at 2, Riley took a 0-1 slider and lined it down the left field line for his first postseason walk-off hit. Because we know how the rest of the 2021 postseason played out, this memory lives on forever in Braves lore.
2021 NLCS Game Two Game-Tying Double Late
Riley didn’t take long to produce his next memorable moment in 2021. The Braves staged a late rally in the eighth, that ultimately was tied thanks to Riley’s hard-hit double that scored Ozzie from first.
This set the stage for future NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario to walk it off on back-to-back nights and help Atlanta gain a 2-0 series lead headed back to LA.
Last night’s Go-Ahead Home Run
We all know how we were feeling in the sixth inning last night. So much changed with this swing of the bat from Riley, and hopefully this momentum carries into Philadelphia. I’m not going to say too much regarding this one, since it is so fresh in our minds. All we should do is sit back and enjoy (Also props to Brian Anderson for nailing this home run call).
These are just the first few to pop into my head after an exciting comeback win. Riley has had plenty of other clutch moments in his short career. The first RBI of a low-scoring game three in the 2021 World Series, the home run to tie the game early on in the 2021 NLCS game one, and not to mention the outstanding heads-up play to polish off one of the most exciting game-ending double plays you will ever see.
Riley is a great baseball player and already has provided numerous memorable moments. Let’s hope the list doesn’t stop here, and when we look back on his career we’ll have plenty more to share with our fellow Braves fans.