ASHEVILLE, NC - Rome opened its series and road trip Monday evening with an 11-6 loss to Asheville at McCormick Field in a marathon game defined by inconsistent defense and some missed opportunities for the visitors. The win for the Tourists puts them alone in 1st place in the Southern Division.
Every hitter in the Rome batting order had at least one hit and the Braves got at least one hit in every inning but the 9th. It was a solid effort but not enough to match the Asheville offensive attack.
Rome scored first, getting an RBI single from Shea Langeliers to score Braden Shewmake in the 1st inning. The Braves had four hits in the opening frame, two for extra bases, but would score only once.
The Tourists answered with three runs in the 2nd inning thanks in part to a pair of Rome fielding errors. The Braves tied it up at 3-3 in the 3rd inning on a doubleplay-grounder and an RBI single from Hagen Owenby. Asheville was relentless, scoring two runs in the 4th and two more in the 5th to take a 7-3 lead.
Rome's last great chance was in the 6th inning. After Greg Cullen ripped a towering solo homer out to right the Braves trailed 7-5 and would eventually load the bases with two outs, putting the tying run in scoring position. But a groundout ended the threat and Asheville scored four runs in the Bottom of the 6th to make it 11-5 and put the game too far out of reach.
Rome starter RHP Alan Rangel was tagged with the loss. He pitched 4 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits. He struck out five and walked four.
Cullen went 3-4 with a homer and a walk. Shewmake was 2-4 with two doubles, a walk and two stolen bases. Langeliers was 1-3 with two walks and an RBI. Justin Dean was 1-4 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Dean has now stolen a league-best 40 bags this season. In his debut game as a Rome Brave, Bryce Ball was 3-5 with a double.
Rome and Asheville continue their three game series on Tuesday evening. Game 2 from McCormick Field is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Rome will start RHP Jose Olague (9-6, 3.93) while Asheville starts RHP Eris Filpo (2-0, 2.70).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.