Austin Bush

Austin Bush and the Rome Braves clinched the SAL's Southern Division first half title with some help from Augusta on Thursday night. / Jeremy Stewart

Thanks to Augusta’s 6-3 loss to West Virginia, Rome was able to clinch the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division first half championship before the end of its road game against the Drive.

It’s the first time in 12 years Rome has won the first half of the season, which gives them a spot in the SAL postseason playoffs. The Braves won the 2003 and 2016 South Atlanta League championships after winning the second half of the season both years.

Rome was battling with Greenville in extra innings when the West Virginia-Augusta game went final, resulting in Augusta’s 10th loss in a row.

The Braves scored in the top of the ninth against the Drive to make it 1-1 before both teams scored a run in the 10th to keep the game going at 2-2.

Greenville’s Jordan Wren, son of former Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren, drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to score the winning run, making the final 3-2.

It capped the longest game for Rome this season and the team’s first extra inning loss, having won the only other two games that had gone past the scheduled number of innings.

Rome starter Bruce Zimmermann delivered a strong pitching performance, striking out five while allowing one run and seven hits over seven innings.

The Braves began their last series of the first half Friday night hosting the Lexington Legends at State Mutual Stadium for three games. The team’s 40-27 record put them four games ahead of Augusta and four-and-a-half games ahead of Lexington.

Rome will play the winner of the second half of the Southern Division in a best-of-three series in the first round of the SAL playoffs in September, with the winner advancing to the league championship series against the Northern Division winner.

It will mark the fifth time the team has made the postseason since the franchise moved to Rome from Macon in 2003.