ROME, GA - The Rome Braves pitching staff contributed another solid outing on Saturday night but the offense came up short in a 4-0 loss to rival Asheville. The Tourists got four unearned runs in the 8th inning to break a scoreless tie and take Game 3 of the series.
Rome got a tremendous effort from starting pitcher RHP Odalvi Javier, who twirled 7 shutout frames in the loss. He allowed only three hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
Asheville starter LHP Colten Schmidt was equally tough, holding Rome scoreless in 7 innings of work and getting the win. The two hurlers traded zeroes for much of the evening. Neither side got a runner as far as third base through the first 6 innings. With the game knotted at 0-0 Rome had its best chance against Schmidt in the 7th inning.
Griffin Benson led off with a double into center field and moved to third base on an infield hit by Ricardo Rodriguez. With runners on the corners and nobody out the Braves looked primed to take the lead. But Schmidt wriggled free of the jam. A groundball turned into a fielder's choice, nabbing the lead runner between third and home. Schmidt ended the threat with a strikeout and another grounder.
Shortly after escaping the Braves potential rally the Tourists got one of their own, thanks in no small part to a defensive mistake. Rome reliever and All-Star RHP Jose Montilla struck out the first batter he faced in the 8th inning but the hitter reached base on a wild pitch for strike three. Looking to move the runner over Asheville tried a sacrifice bunt which turned into a throwing error. With runners at second and third and nobody out Terrin Vavra singled into right field to score one. Another run crossed on an RBI groundout and the finishing blow was a two run homer by Coco Montes. All four runs against Montilla were unearned.
Leading Rome 4-0, the Tourists bullpen finished it off. The Braves were shutout on six hits and no walks.
Justin Dean extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a triple. He was also hit by a pitch. Braden Shewmake went 1-3 with a double and was hit by a pitch. Benson was 1-4 with a double and Rodriguez went 2-4 on the night.
The Rome Braves pitching staff has not allowed an earned run across the first three games and 27 innings of the series but Asheville has won two of those three contests.
Rome and Asheville conclude their four game set Sunday afternoon. First pitch of Game 4 from State Mutual Stadium is scheduled for 2 pm. Rome will start LHP Dilmer Mejia (4-1, 2.17) while Asheville counters with LHP Alfredo Garcia (2-8, 6.78).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.