Greenville, SC - Dominant pitching by the Rome Braves was the story of Saturday's doubleheader at Fluor Field, as they posted a pair of shutout victories over the Greenville Drive to even the five-game series at two games apiece.
Braves (25-22, 63-54) starter Jeremy Walker (5-11) set the tone in the opening game of the day, as he delivered a complete game shutout. He scattered five Drive (25-24, 66-52) hits over his seven innings while striking out five and only issuing one walk.
The only runs of the opener came in the second inning, as Lucas Herbert cracked a solo homer leading off the frame against Jay Groome (3-5), and Kurt Hoekstra added a run-scoring fielder's choice later on.
Groome was solid in defeat, allowing just those two runs over five innings while striking out seven with no walks.
Santiago Espinal collected two hits in the opening game, and he notched three hits in total on Saturday.
Game two saw more outstanding pitching on both sides, as the game was scoreless until the sixth inning. Anthony Concepcion was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and after a Drive passed ball, Drew Lugbauer delivered an RBI single to put Rome ahead.
Three more runs in the seventh allowed the Braves to pull away, with an RBI triple by Kevin Josephina serving as the highlight.
Daniel Gonzalez (7-3) threw a complete game in the nightcap for the Drive, and he matched a career high with eight strikeouts in his seven innings.
Ian Anderson, Walt Borkovich (1-0) and Thomas Burrows combined to hold Greenville to five hits in the second game.
The rubber game of the series will begin at 4:05 on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field. Left-hander Jhonathan Diaz (5-4, 4.72) takes the mound for the Drive, and the Braves will start right-hander Bryse Wilson (9-5, 2.48).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.