With both pitching staffs rolling, Austin Riley provided the big hit Class A Rome needed Thursday.
Atlanta's No. 13 prospect clubbed his second homer in as many games as Rome blanked Lakewood, 2-0, in Game 3 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series at FirstEnergy Park.
Riley led off the fourth inning against Lakewood starter Alberto Tirado -- who had struck out the previous four batters -- with the game still scoreless. The Braves third baseman fell behind in the count, 0-2, but adjusted to crush the third offering over the center-field fence.
"He started me with a curveball that I swung and fouled off and then came back with another curveball that I took. So in my mind, I was thinking there was a good chance he was going to come back with a fastball," Riley said. "That's what I sat on and he kind of left it over the plate. I put a pretty good swing on it."
Carlos Castro added another run later in the inning on a single to center. The lead proved enough for fourth-ranked Braves prospect Kolby Allard (1-0), who surrendered six hits and a walk while striking out nine over six frames. The 19-year-old left-hander hasn't allowed a run over 12 innings in two playoff starts.
"Honestly, he was able to use all his pitches from what I saw," Riley said. "He got some strikeouts with the curveball and got some swing-and-misses. He got some broken bats with the changeup. He just all around had his stuff."
Allard said the low-scoring win was typical of Rome's style during the playoffs. Against a BlueClaws pitching staff that led the circuit with 1,267 strikeouts, runs have come at a premium.
"We just battle," Riley said. "The guys went out there and grinded out each at-bat. Other than my big hit, I had two strikeouts, so they had some good pitching. We just don't give up until the last out. We're going to keep grinding everything out."
The series continues with Game 4 on 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday in Lakewood. The Braves can clinch the Sally League crown with a win.
"We hadn't really said much about it," Riley said. "We've just got to finish. We're not too high, not too low. We're just trying to stay the same, because I feel like that's the way you've got to be if you're going to win a championship. We're ready to get after it."