The Southern Division got a lift from a four-run third inning and four home runs to take command of the 2018 SAL All-Star Game on the way to a 9-5 win over the Northern Division in Greensboro, North Carolina.
It’s the first time the South has won the game since 2011.
Rome’s Bruce Zimmermann, Freddy Tarnok, Walter Borkovich and Kelvin Rodriquez all took the mound in relief for the South and retired 10 of 11 batters faced, striking out six along the way.
Braves position players Drew Waters and Riley Delgado didn’t get a hit in the game but made good contributions to the South’s win, with Waters leading off and staying in at center field the entire game. Delgado came in at second in the bottom of the fifth.
Zimmerman, who finished the first half of the season with a league-best 94 strikeouts, sat down the first two North batters in the bottom of the fourth before getting the third to hit into a groundout to third. It was the first 1-2-3 inning by a pitcher from either team.
Tarnok then struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, followed two innings later by Borkovich, who threw just seven pitches to retire the side in the bottom of the eighth. Rodriguez came on in the ninth and struck out the leadoff hitter before walking the next one on nine pitches and being replaced.
Waters reached on an error and a walk, and scored on a two-run single by Asheville’s Bret Boswell in the fourth. The 19-year-old Woodstock native displayed his speed by stealing second just before the run-scoring hit. Waters was 11-of-13 in steal attempts in the first half of the season.
The first-half Southern Division champion Rome Braves begin the second half of the season on the road Thursday with a three-game series at Augusta followed by a homestand against Greenville, starting with a 2 p.m. game Sunday.