LAKEWOOD, NJ - Playing their first doubleheader of the 2019 season on Monday, the Rome Braves split their two games with the host Lakewood BlueClaws, winning 3-1 in Game 1 and getting shutout 8-0 in Game 2. The nightcap defeat ended the Braves four game winning streak but still left them with a series win over Lakewood and a winning record during their seven game road trip.
Taking part in a pair of 7 inning games the Braves started fast despite the unseasonably cold temperatures on Monday when Logan Brown ripped an RBI single into right in the 1st inning of Game 1, scoring Greg Cullen who had doubled. Lakewood later tied it 1-1 in the 3rd inning on a sacrifice fly to deep center. Still knotted up in the 4th inning Justin Dean came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded and drove a line drive single up the middle, scoring two runs to give Rome a 3-1 advantage.
RHP Trey Riley pitched around a few jams and ended up clearing 6 frames. He departed with the lead and gave way to reliever Kurt Hoekstra. Making his first appearance of the series, the Michigan native enjoyed a perfect 7th inning with two strikeouts to ice the win, giving Rome a four game winning streak and insuring Riley his first victory of the season. Riley pitched 6 innings, allowing only one run which was unearned. He gave up four hits, struck-out four and walked five. The save by Hoekstra was his fourth of the season, tying him for the team lead with fellow closer Lukas Young.
Game 2 was an offensive struggle for the Braves against Lakewood pitchers Ethan Lindow and Kyle Glogoski. The BlueClaws shut the Braves out on only three hits, none for extra-bases. Rome starting pitcher Odalvi Javier surrendered a trio of homeruns to the Lakewood lineup, including a three run bomb in the 5th inning to Ben Pelletier that put the game out of reach. The BlueClaws earned a doubleheader split and prevented a Braves sweep with the 8-0 win.
Dean went 2-7 with a walk and two RBI during the doubleheader. He hit safely in all four games of the series against Lakewood. Greg Cullen went a combined 2-6 with a double and a run scored in two starts on Monday. Logan Brown was 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored in his Game 1 start.
The Braves end their road trip with four wins in seven games. They'll enjoy an off day on Tuesday and open a brief three game homestand on Wednesday at State Mutual Stadium against the Greenville Drive. First pitch in the series opener is scheduled for 7 pm. Rome will start RHP Alan Rangel (1-1, 6.14). Greenville has not announced their starting pitcher.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.