Attention was paid to the Rome Braves for their most recent string of victories by the South Atlantic League. And for good reason.
Rome got a jolt during its homestand that wrapped up Monday afternoon as the team recorded a five-game winning streak before falling short in the final two contests. The stretch included a series sweep of Asheville and powerful performances at the plate from Greg Cullen and Trey Harris.
Cullen was named the SAL Player of the Week by the league on Monday after he hit .424 with a .529 slugging percentage in the eight games between May 13 and Sunday. He had three triples, a home run and seven RBIs during that stretch.
The 22-year-old second baseman has a .277 average for the season with 17 total RBIs. He was also part of a home run onslaught by Rome in Sunday’s 9-8 10-inning loss to Columbia. Cullen, Trey Harris, Ariel Montasino and Brendan Venter each had a homer for the Braves, a season-high for the club.
Rome returned to the .500 mark with a 9-5 win against Columbia on Saturday evening, giving the Braves a new season-best winning streak at five in a row. It was another banner evening for the lineup as outfielders Justin Dean and Trey Harris led the way.
Dean finished a single shy of the cycle and Harris ripped the go-ahead homer to right-center to provide the game-winning RBI.
The Braves had 10 or more hits in six consecutive games last week, including 14 in a 11-3 win in the series opener against Columbia on Friday.
Harris proved his bat is still hot during the homestand as he has hit a homer in three straight games and has a .396 batting average with a total of seven home runs on the season, both of which lead the Atlanta Class A affiliate.
The outfielder had a dramatic two-run shot in Sunday’s game to tie it up 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth but it wasn’t quite enough as Columbia scored a run in the 10th and picked up its first win of the series.
Harris has hit .475 with 11 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Dean finished Saturday’s game 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a monster three-run home run in the second inning that hit off the top of the video board in left field.
Rome’s pitching got some recognition on Monday as well as Jose Olague was announced as the league’s Pitcher of the Week for his win against Asheville last Wednesday.
The 20-year-old went eight innings against the Tourists, allowing just two hits, no runs and striking out three. Olague is 4-4 on the season with a 3.38 ERA.
Rome was in fourth place and 2.5 games out of first in the SAL Southern Division on Monday evening with a 21-23 record. The Braves begin a four-game series Tuesday at Augusta with a 7:05 p.m. start for the opener.