The Braves, who earned a spot in the division series after winning the Southern Division first half title, won five of their last seven games to wrap up the regular season, and Jefrey Ramos is leading the way for Rome as they get ready for their first-round best-of-three series against the Lexington Legends, which begins Wednesday in Kentucky.
Rome finished the regular schedule on Monday in Asheville, N.C., with a 5-4 loss to the Tourists, splitting the series. Justin Dean went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run, while Brendan Venter went 2-for-2 coming off the bench.
The Braves were up 4-0 heading into the sixth inning when Asheville cut the lead to one and added a run in the next two innings to pull ahead.
Ramos, who did not play in Monday’s game, homered three times in the past week, including a grand slam in an 11-7 win against the Tourists on Friday. The outfielder has been with the team since opening day and leads current players with 16 home runs, 69 RBIs, 57 runs, 115 hits, 24 doubles and six triples. He finished the regular season with a .245 batting average.
The Braves’ pitching has also been heating up as the season closes with Oldavi Javier (3-10) and Alan Rangel (5-7) striking out 15 and 13, respectively, over their last two starts. Walter Borkovich (4-1) has the lowest ERA for a Braves’ starter with a 1.83.
The Braves’ Southern Division playoff series against Lexington will move to State Mutual Stadium on Friday with first pitch at 7 p.m. A third game, if necessary, will be Saturday at 6 p.m. at SMS.
In the Northern Division, the Lakewood BlueClaws, who the Braves defeated to win the 2016 South Atlantic League championship, will travel to face the Hickory Crawdads in the Northern Division series.
If Rome moves on to the championship series, the Braves will begin play in the best-of-five series against the Northern Division champions starting Monday. The opening two games would be played at State Mutual Stadium.