Rome, GA - The Rome Braves rallied twice over the final three innings of Tuesday's game against the Augusta GreenJackets to come away with a walkoff 6-5 win over Augusta. For the GreenJackets, it's the third time in their last ten road games where the opponent has won the game in their final at-bat.
With the game tied at five in the bottom of the ninth, Tony Mueller singled to lead off the frame for the Braves. He was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and the GreenJackets responded by walking William Beckwith to set up the force play and potential double play. Robby Hefflinger hit a grounder to third and Jose Cuevas touched third for the inning's second out but couldn't complete the double play as his throw to first was wide of the bag, allowing Hefflinger to reach and extend the inning. Kyle Kubitza followed with the game-winning single to center, scoring Beckwith from second.
The GreenJackets handed starter Clayton Blackburn an early lead by getting runs in the first and third innings. With runners at second and third in the first inning, Devin Harris grounded to third. Kubitza threw high to the plate with Galindo running on contact, allowing Galindo to score the game's first run. In the third, Harris singled home Augusta's second run. The GreenJackets had a chance to score more runs in those innings, but grounded into double plays to end both frames - and with multiple runners on the basepaths. In addition, the GreenJackets ended the sixth inning with the bases full.
Blackburn pitched well enough to get the win, allowing one run and six hits through six innings. He walked one and struck out six. It was the 12th time in Blackburn's last 13 starts where the right-hander has thrown five or more innings.
The Braves got their lone run off Blackburn in the sixth, when they got a single from Beckwith and a double from Hefflinger to open the inning. Kubitza's groundout gave Rome their first run of the game, but that was the only run the Braves scored in the inning.
Rome took the lead in the seventh off the Augusta bullpen. With runners at second and third and one out, Ross Heffley unloaded with his first homer of the year - a three-run shot off Derek Law - to give the Braves a 4-3 edge. Beckwith followed with a solo shot of his own to make it a 5-3 game.
Brett Krill led off the eighth with a double on the first pitch he saw, but the GreenJackets couldn't move him past second. Then, in the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson walked and Jesus Galindo doubled - his fourth hit of the day - to put runners at second and third with no one out. Shawn Payne stroked a two-run single to tie the game at five. With no one out, Payne represented the winning run at second - but the GreenJackets couldn't score him, opening the door for Rome's ninth-inning rally.
The win extends Rome's winning streak to nine games and the red-hot Braves have now won 11 of their last 13 games. On Wednesday, the GreenJackets send Kyle Crick (5-6, 2.69) to the mound against Fabian Williamson (1-2, 3.76) in an attempt to get back in the series. First pitch from Rome comes at 7:05 p.m. with radio pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1340 AM and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.
The GreenJackets return home on Friday to open a four-game series with the Charleston RiverDogs. Single-game tickets for any GreenJackets home game are currently available by calling the GreenJackets front office at 706-922-WINS and online at www.greenjacketsbaseball.com.