A big boost was in store for Rome after its road series against the Augusta GreenJackets, and the Braves will have a chance to keep their momentum going in front of a home crowd.
Rome nearly swept a four-game series against Augusta losing only one contest to the GreenJackets on the road and wrapping up the short road trip with a 9-4 win on Friday night.
The Braves are back at .500 as they return home to State Mutual Stadium on Saturday for a four-game series against the Asheville Tourists, who sit near the bottom of the SAL standings at 6 1/2 games out of first.
Before Friday’s game, Rome was sitting just two games out of first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division standings following the series against the second-place GreenJackets.
In Friday’s win, Derian Cruz tripled and doubled with two RBIs for Rome, and Gabriel Noguera picked up the win after allowing two runs on just three hits and striking out five over five innings.
The Braves, who have won seven of their last 10 games, sit behind Augusta and Lexington, which are tied for second place, and first-place Charleston.
HEAVY HITTERS: The Braves' Trey Harris comes into the home series with the Tourists leading the SAL with a .372 batting average and 64 hits on the season. Harris is also second in the league with 41 RBIs and has eight home runs so far this season, which leads the team.
The 23-year-old outfielder knocked in seven runs this past week and, before Friday’s game, had an 11-game hitting streak.
Harris and 22-year-old outfield Justin Dean lead the team with four triples each, and the Braves have 19 triples as a team on the season to lead the league.
Dean has also shown himself as a key player for the Braves’ offense as he leads the team in runs scored with 33. Harris follows closely with 32 of his own. Dean’s runs put him second in the league behind Greensboro’s Fabricio Macias and Lolo Sanchez. Dean’s had at least one hit in eight out of his last 10 games.
ON THE MOUND: Odalvi Javier and Alan Rangel lead the team with 47 and 46 strikeouts, respectively. Rangel had a big day for Rome in Thursday’s win against the GreenJackets, striking out seven and giving up only one run in the 3-1 victory. Rangel owns a 4-2 record on the season, while Javier is 2-2.
BACK HOME: The series against Asheville begins Saturday at 6 p.m. and includes a 7 p.m. game on Memorial Day, and a 1 p.m. game Tuesday to wrap it up.
Saturday’s game will feature an Atlanta Braves cap giveaway with the first 1,000 fans to enter the stadium receiving a free Atlanta Braves cap. Fans will also get a chance to win prizes throughout the night.
Kids get to run the bases after Sunday's afternoon game, and it's Bark in the Park on Monday with fans able to bring their dogs into certain sections of the stadium. Rome’s games are broadcast on 99.5-FM.