Dominant pitching secured a series-opening victory for the Rome Braves (55-59) on Tuesday night. The Braves crushed the visiting Hickory Crawdads (45-67) 8-1 at State Mutual Stadium in the first of six games this week.
Rome opened the scoring in the bottom of the first as a sac fly from Vaughn Grissom drove in Riley Delgado. They doubled their lead in the third when a double steal allowed Michael Harris II to touch home plate. The R-Braves continued their strong offensive attack in the fourth inning. Delgado singled to bring in Javier Valdes, and Garrett Saunders scored on an RBI single by Harris. The 4-0 lead was doubled in the sixth and seventh frames. In the sixth, an RBI double from Harris drove in Valdes and an error let two more runs score. A Saunders single brought home Drew Campbell in the seventh to make it an 8-0 ballgame. Although Hickory would rally to score a run in the top of the ninth, it was too little, too late, leading to a Rome Braves victory.
Harris led the offense on the day, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Valdes was 2-for-4 with two runs and Saunders finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Delgado (1-4, 2 R, RBI), Grissom (1-3, RBI), Campbell (1-4, R), and Jesse Franklin V (1-4) also recorded hits against the Crawdads.
Tanner Gordon produced his best start of the season by throwing six innings of scoreless baseball. He received the win, improving his season record to 2-4, after allowing just five hits and striking out six Hickory batters. Zach Daniels tossed two frames of scoreless baseball as well and tallied two K’s. Justin Yeager surrendered a run in the ninth inning but battled back and recorded the final three outs.
The R-Braves and Crawdads are set to do battle again on Thursday after Wednesday’s game was postponed due to rain. The teams will play Game 1 starting at 5 p.m. at State Mutual Stadium. Game 2 will follow shortly after the completion of Game 1.
In other recent Rome Braves news:
Rome receives Spain, Rodriguez activated
The Rome Braves, High-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, have announced three roster moves ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Hickory Crawdads.
Catcher Carlos Martinez has been promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Martinez, who was added to Rome’s active roster from Double-A Mississippi’s Developmental List on Aug. 10, hit .272 with one homer and 14 RBI in 23 games with the R-Braves. The Cartagena, Colombia, native has spent time with Rome, Mississippi, and Gwinnett this season.
In corresponding moves, catcher Cesar Rodriguez has been activated from Rome’s Developmental List and right-handed pitcher Dylan Spain has been promoted from Low-A Augusta.
Rodriguez, a 20-year-old backstop from Venezuela, signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves in June. He joined High-A Rome on Aug. 11 before being transferred to the Developmental List on Aug. 17. Rodriguez has not played in a game since an Aug. 7 contest with the FCL Braves.
Spain, Atlanta’s tenth-round pick this summer out of Hawaii-Hilo, advances to High-A after playing for the FCL Braves and Low-A Augusta. He has yet to allow a run in eight appearances with Atlanta affiliates this season. Spain was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings pitched with the GreenJackets.
The Rome roster now has 30 active, 4 injured, and 0 inactive players.