ROME, GA - Rome was unable to overcome an early deficit in a 5-4 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday, evening the series at one game apiece. The Braves had both the tying and winning runs on base in the 9th inning but the RiverDogs bullpen was able to navigate through the trouble and nail down the save.
Rome once again got their offense going quickly, scoring a run without a hit in the 1st inning. Justin Dean led off the frame with a walk and moved up to third base on a pair of wild pitches. Greg Cullen brought him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Braves an early 1-0 lead.
Charleston was up to the task against Rome starter RHP Jose Olague, getting to the right-hander for five runs on eight hits. They began to chip away at Olague in the 2nd inning with a pair of extra base hits. With the RiverDogs leading 2-1 in the 2nd the Braves tied it up 2-2 as Griffin Benson scored on a balk by Charleston starter RHP Luis Gil.
After Charleston retook the lead at 3-2 in the 4th their pivotal rally began in the 5th as the RiverDogs got a clutch two out, two run double from Kyle Gray. The lined shot eluded the outstretched mitt of Dean in left center field and gave the RiverDogs a 5-2 advantage.
Rome's hot lineup would not go quietly. The Braves added a run in the 6th as shortstop Braden Shewmake opened the inning with a double and later scored on an RBI groundout by Benson to make it 5-3 and giving Benson seven RBI in the series.
In the 8th inning Shewmake ripped a leadoff solo homer out to right to pull Rome within a run at 5-4. In the Bottom of the 9th the Braves got consecutive two out singles from Jeremy Fernandez and Dean but could not complete the comeback, stranding two on base.
Shewmake went 2-4 with a homer, a double and two runs scored. Justin Dean was 2-3 with two walks, a stolen base and a run scored. Benson was 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Olague threw 6 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. He struck out three and walked one. The base on balls was the first he's issued in his last four starts.
Rome and Charleston conclude their three game series on Wednesday afternoon. The first pitch of the matinee finale from State Mutual Stadium is slated for 1 pm. Rome will start RHP Odalvi Javier (2-4, 4.44) while Charleston will counter with RHP Harold Cortijo (2-0, 2.25).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.