After his go-ahead hit failed to stand up, Cristian Pache helped set up the winning one.The Braves' No. 14 prospect smacked a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth before beating out a double play to set up Juan Yepez's walk-off single in the 10th as Class A Rome edged Hagerstown,
After his go-ahead hit failed to stand up, Cristian Pache helped set up the winning one.
The Braves' No. 14 prospect smacked a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth before beating out a double play to set up Juan Yepez's walk-off single in the 10th as Class A Rome edged Hagerstown, 8-7, on Wednesday at State Mutual Stadium. Pache finished 3-for-6 with a triple and four RBIs.
The Braves had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the 10th when Pache chopped a ball toward second baseman Jake Noll. Noll flipped to shortstop Angelo La Bruna for the force at second, but the relay failed to nab the streaking Pache at first. Yepez promptly delivered the game-winning single to the left side of the infield.
"That's what he does," Rome hitting coach Bobby Moore said of Pache. "First and second, two-hopper to the second baseman -- he ran full speed down the line. He's always hustling down the line, whether it's a routine play or he's got to beat out an infield hit or a double play. That's just him. He plays hard and runs through the bag every time."
Two innings earlier, the 18-year-old had seemingly delivered the Braves a win when he smacked a two-run single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch from right-handed reliever Tommy Peterson. The knock gave Rome a 7-6 lead before La Bruna scored on a double play grounder by Noll in the ninth to force extra innings.
"He's been working extremely hard getting some separation in his swing, staying gap to gap-oriented through the middle," Moore said, referring to the eighth-inning hit. "It paid off for him there with a two-strike count."
Pache also tripled home a pair of runs in the first on a line drive to right and singled up the middle in the fifth. He added to his big night with an impressive running catch in the fourth that robbed Sheldon Neuse of a hit.
The native of the Dominican Republic entered Wednesday with hits in three straight games, although he was 7-for-33 with three RBIs in his last 10 contests. While he's one of the younger players in the South Atlantic League, Pache has held his own with a .265 average and a team-leading 18 RBIs in 27 games.
Moore said the same approach that helped Pache produce the big hit in the eighth should carry him through the season.
"It's the same approach we've been working on as a unit," the coach said. "Just staying gap to gap, getting some separation in his swing. That way, he has more time to react and let his hands be more free. He's been working on that since day one, and today it paid off for him."
Marcus Mooney reached base four times and scored twice for Rome.
Reliever Oriel Caicedo (5-1) got the win, despite giving up two runs on five hits while striking out four over the final three innings.
Jordan Mills (4-1) took the loss after serving up Yepez's walk-off hit.
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.