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ROME BRAVES: Pitching shines as Rome defeats Asheville 1-0 to open series

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Rome pitcher Bruce Zimmermann throws to the plate in the third inning of a game against Asheville on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at State Mutual Stadium. The southpaw threw a career-high seven innings while striking out nine in Rome's 1-0 win. / Jeremy Stewart

“It was a well-pitched game by Zimmermann. Whitey came in and closed the door. Encarnacion came in and got the home run. That’s all we needed today,” Rome manager Rocket Wheeler said.

Encarnacion finished 3 for 4 while Jefrey Ramos went 2 for 4 as the Braves had nine hits but left six stranded in the pitcher’s duel. Wheeler said the game reflects how this season has gone so far.

“We have a little speed, a little power, and our defense is pretty good. Our offense is up and down, but it seems like we get the hits when we need it,” Wheeler said.

You’ve got a different guy every night chipping in,” Wheeler said. “Our pitching has been tremendous. Dan Meyer has done a tremendous job with these guys. Our defense has been solid all year. Everybody is contributing, and it’s what makes it fun. It’s fun to watch this team play.”

Thursday’s game also featured Atlanta Braves infielder Dansby Swanson in a rehab assignment. The young star shortstop is working his way back to the Major League club after going on the disabled list on May 4 with left wrist inflammation.

Swanson went 2 for 4 with two singles on Thursday night in the lead-off spot for Rome. He said afterwards that he feels ready to rejoin Atlanta after not having any problems.

“I feel great. They did a great job with all of the rehab and everything and just keeping me in shape, keeping my legs in shape, so I could kind of hit the ground running again, which is kind of what happened tonight,” Swanson said.

“My biggest goal the last two weeks was to basically minimize every gap possible as far as not having played. I did everything I could and I feel ready.”

The Braves are home for just a short time as they will be in Lexington on Monday to start a eight-game road trip. Rome returns to State Mutual Stadium on May 29 hosting Asheville once again.