As the Rome Braves welcomed fans back to State Mutual Stadium for the first time since 2019, the team faced a formidable foe on the field in the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
And in the final two games of the six-game series, the Braves could not scrape out a victory, falling by scores of 2-1 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday.
Saturday: Bowling Green 2, Rome 1
Rome could win the series with one more victory during the final two games of the series with Bowling Green. However, in a contest featuring strong pitching, the High-A affiliate of Atlanta came up on the short end.
The Hot Rods scored both of their runs in the top of the fourth inning, as an RBI single and bases-loaded walk brought in two runs. Both runs were charged to Rome starter Mitch Stallings.
Stallings, a left-hander from Atlanta, dealt 3 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, walking three batters and striking out four.
Rome only conceded two hits following Stallings’ exit, as Lisandro Santos, Coleman Huntley and Kasey Kalich pitched the rest of the way. Huntley notched four punchouts in his two innings of work.
Rome’s offense manufactured its lone run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Michael Harris II hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Cody Milligan.
Sunday: Bowling Green 5, Rome 3
In the series finale, Rome fell behind early and could never recover.
Bowling Green’s Jonathan Aranda hit a solo home run off Braves starter Tanner Gordon in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead. The Hot Rods would also stretch their lead to 2-0 on an RBI groundout from Pedro Martinez in the third inning and a two-run home run from Jacson McGowan would make it 4-1 in the fifth inning.
Gordon dealt six innings, giving up six hits, four runs (three earned), no walks and three strikeouts.
Offensively, Rome got on the scoreboard when Brett Langhorne hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut Bowling Green’s edge in half to 2-1. Jesse Franklin V became the offensive story of the day, going 4-for-4 with two singles and two doubles. The 22-year-old from Seattle hit an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 4-2.
Rome could never push the tying run across home plate, ultimately losing by two and settling for a series split.
The Braves remain in Rome and welcome the Greenville Drive to State Mutual Stadium for the first of a six-game series beginning Tuesday.