The Rome Braves lost their first series of the season in last week’s trip to Bowling Green. The R-Braves won just one of six matchups against the Hot Rods and fell in each of the last five contests in the Bluegrass State. Rome (15-15) is now tied for second place in the High-A East and sit four games behind division-leading Bowling Green.
June 1, Rome wins 3-2
Rome utilized some late-game heroics to battle back for a big triumph in the series opener. A fifth-inning homer from Kevin Josephina put the Braves on top, but the Hot Rods tied it with a four-bagger of their own in the eighth. The winning blast came via Jesse Franklin V, who crushed his first professional home run in the top of the ninth to clinch a victory for Rome. Josephina (3-4, RBI, R) and Franklin (1-3, RBI, R) produced long-balls in the victory while Ricky DeVito (3IP, 1H, 1BB, 6K, 0R) generated a solid start. The win went to Trey Riley (2IP, 2K, 1ER) and Indigo Diaz (1IP, 2K) earned his third save of 2021.
June 2, Bowling Green wins 14-4
Rome pitching allowed six runs each in the fourth and sixth innings of Wednesday night’s affair, leading to a large loss on the road. First-round pick Jared Shuster (2IP, 2H, 1BB, 0R, 4K) looked phenomenal again, but threw just 39 pitches before being pulled. Alan Rangel (1.2IP, 3ER) picked up the loss while fellow relievers Mitch Stallings (5ER in 2IP) and Marrick Crouse (2ER in 1.1IP) also struggled. Kevin Josephina (2-4, RBI, R) hit his second home run in as many days while Beau Philip (1-3, RBI, R) and Rusber Estrada (1-4, RBI, R) went yard as well.
June 3, Bowling Green wins 3-1
A much more impressive outing from the Braves’ pitching staff was damaged by offensive woes. Rome tallied just six hits in a two-run loss. Kevin Josephina served as the only run of the game for the R-Braves, as he doubled in the first inning and scored on a double steal. Bryce Elder (6IP, 5H, 0BB, 0ER, 10K) shut down the Hot Rod offense in Bowling Green on Thursday night. Gabriel Noguera (2BB, 1K) pitched one inning of relief but the loss went to Kasey Kalich (1IP, 3H, 1BB, 1K, 2ER) after allowing the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.
June 4, Bowling Green wins 7-3
A big start from the Rome offense was matched by a bigger start for Bowling Green’s on Friday night. After Michael Harris II (2-4, 3 RBI, R) crushed a three-run homer in the first, the Hot Rods battled back to score seven runs in the second and third innings to pick up a victory in Game 4. Cody Milligan (2-4, R) also had a good day at the plate. Tanner Gordon (2.2IP, 5H, 3BB, 4K, 6ER) picked up the loss while Zach Daniels (2IP, 1H, 0BB, 4K) and Davis Schwab (1IP, 0H, 1BB, 2K) gave quality relief appearances.
June 5, Bowling Green wins 7-5
Braves pitching could not keep the Hot Rod bats quiet in a Saturday night defeat. Rome took a 2-0 lead in the fourth before Bowling Green scored seven unanswered runs over the next three innings. Logan Brown (2-3, 4 RBI) picked up a bases-clearing double in the top of the eighth to draw within two, but that is as close as Rome would get. Spencer Strider (4IP, 2H, 3BB, 8K, 1ER) made his High-A debut and Coleman Huntley III (2IP, 9H, 0BB, 3K, 6ER) tallied his first loss of the season. Marrick Crouse (0H, 0BB, 3K) pitched the final two innings of the two-run defeat.
June 6, Bowling Green wins 7-2
Jesse Franklin V stole the show with a multi-home run game in the series finale. Franklin (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 R) hit solo shots in the fifth and seventh innings of a five-run loss. Riley Delgado (2-4), Kevin Josephina (1-4), and Brett Langhorne (1-3) had the only other hits of the day for the Braves. The loss went to Alan Rangel (4IP, 3H, 1BB, 5K, 4ER), but Indigo Diaz (2IP, 3H, 0BB, 5K) shined late.
Starting Pitcher of the Week
Bryce Elder found a way to cool down the Hot Rods offense on Thursday night. For his efforts, he earns his first Starting Pitcher of the Week honor. Elder pitched six innings, giving up just five hits. He surrendered no earned runs and struck out ten batters. The Texas product has a 2.84 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched on the season. Elder now has 41 strikeouts in six starts for Rome.
Relief Pitcher of the Week
For the second consecutive road trip, pitcher Indigo Diaz has earned Relief Pitcher of the Week honors. Diaz earned his league-leading third save of 2021 in Tuesday night’s victory. The former Michigan State Spartan then pitched two scoreless innings in Sunday’s series finale. Diaz has been Rome’s best relief option so far, recording a 0.59 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched. The Vancouver, B.C., Canada native has struck out 34 batters and allowed just one earned run in nine appearances on the season.
Offensive Hitter of the Week
Kevin Josephina was on a tear last week in Kentucky. After finishing the first month of the season with a .270 batting average, the veteran infielder found a way to raise that mark by .043 points in the road trip to Bowling Green. Josephina hit home runs on Tuesday and Wednesday and finished the series by going 9-for-20 with two homers, two doubles, four runs scored, two runs batted in, and one stolen base. The Willemstad, Curacao local has the second highest average on the team (.313) with three home runs, 13 runs, and ten RBIs.