Rome Braves’ Bats Come Alive to Defeat RiverDogs, 11-5
A night after falling 8-5 to the Charleston RiverDogs, it was the Rome Braves who pulled out the lumber, downing their opponent 11-5. The victory gave the Braves a series victory, winning three of the four games in the series, as Wigberto Nevarez hit his first homerun of the season and four Rome players had at least two-hits in the contest.
Domingo German was making his first start for the RiverDogs, and things were looking good for him when his team staked him to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Jhalan Jackson doubled with one out and moved to third on a single by Angel Aguilar. A sacrifice fly by Gosuke Katoh plated Jackson and Charleston had the early lead.
The lead did not last long. German had retired the side in order in the first, but in the second the Braves took the lead thanks to Nevarez. Back-to-back singles by Justin Ellison and Alejandro Salazar got the inning going. Two batters later Nevarez turned on a German offering and drilled it over the left field wall for his first homer of the season. That made it 3-1.
In the bottom of the third, Rome would extend their lead. Ray-Patrick Didder was hit by a pitch to begin the frame. He then stole second, his 20th steal of the season, and scored on a double by Luke Dykstra, his 14th of the season. Austin Riley followed and he drilled a line drive to left field for his 20th double of the season and it was 5-1.
A run in the fifth extended the lead to five. Cody Carroll took over for German and walked Didder to start the inning. Dysktra grounded into what should have been a double-play but the relay throw to first was wild and Dykstra moved to second. A single by Riley moved the runner to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ellison.
In the top of the sixth the Charleston RiverDogs finally got back on the board. Chris Gittens was the first batter of the inning, and he ripped his 13th homer of the year over the left field wall to make it 6-2. A walk to Afenir and a double by Aguilar put runners at second and third with one out. Katoh would then drive home his second run of the game with a ground out to cut the deficit to three.
The Rome Braves responded right away in the bottom half of the inning, putting the game virtually out of reach. Leudys Baez singled with one out and then stole second, moving to third on an error on the throw. A line drive single to left by Nathan Mikolas scored Baez and Didder was then hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Dykstra was then hit by a pitch as well and bases were loaded. A ground out scored a run and Ellison followed with a single that plated one more. That moved the score to 9-3. Next up was Salazar, who drilled a ball to the wall in center for a triple. Both runners scored and it was 11-3.
In the eighth, the Charleston RiverDogs added two more runs to pull within six. Afenir walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Jackson. Two batters later Katoh reached on an error, with both runners coming into score. That made it 11-5, and that is as close as Charleston would get.
Patrick Weigel (5-3) earned the win for the Rome Braves. He went 6-innings, allowed 7-hits, 2-walks, and 3-earned runs. He also struck out 7.
For Charleston, Cesar Diaz, Jackson and Aguilar each had 2-hits. Jackson scored twice.
The Rome Braves were led by Justin Ellison, who finished 2-2 with 2-runs, 2-RBI, and 2-walks. Riley was 2-5 with a run and 2-RBI.
With the series concluded the Rome Braves (30-43) move on to Kannapolis (27-47) to play the Intimidators. Charleston (43-30) comes home to take on Greenville (39-43). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier