ROME, GA - Despite a lack of success against left-handed pitching so far this season, the Greenville bats came alive against the Rome southpaws in an early game on Thursday at State Mutual Stadium. The Drive used a trio of homeruns to defeat Rome 6-4, evening the three game series at one game apiece.
Hosting an Education Day and approximately 3,700 fans, the Braves found themselves in the hole in short order. Rome starting pitcher LHP Gabriel Noguera surrendered a long two-run homer to Drive first baseman Triston Casas in the 1st inning, then allowed a solo shot to catcher Alan Marrero in the 2nd.
Behind 3-0 early the Braves rallied for a pair of runs in the Bottom of the 2nd inning. Leading hitter Trey Harris was again the catalyst for the Rome offense. He opened the 3rd with a single and later scored on an RBI single by Griffin Benson. The Braves added another on an RBI groundout by Ariel Montesino, pulling within a run at 3-2.
The Braves took their only lead of the day in the 6th inning as Harris struck again, this time providing the team's only extra-base hit of the afternoon. With Greg Cullen at first, Harris launched a fly ball to left for his fourth homerun of the season and increasing his team-leading RBI total to 23. Rome went up 4-3 but would experience a rare bullpen rupture in the late frames.
Coming back out for a second inning of work, reliever RHP Luis Mora walked the first two hitters he faced in the 7th. He was replaced by LHP Tanner Lawson who eventually had to endure a bases-loaded and two outs situation. Casas, the Greenville cleanup hitter, stepped into the box and delivered an opposite field shot into left to score two and put the Drive back in the lead. It proved to be the game-winning hit and tagged Lawson with the loss. Greenville added a final tally on a solo homer from Brandon Howlett in the 8th inning, making it 6-4.
The Braves were unable to mount a rally and were held to only four hits on Thursday. Three of those knocks were off the bat of Harris, who's now hitting .376 this season. Noguera went 5 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Harris finished 3-3 with a homerun, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Benson was 1-4 with an RBI. Cullen was 0-1 but had a walk and was hit by a pitch on two occasions. He also scored a run.
The Braves and Drive conclude their three game series on Friday evening at State Mutual Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm. Rome will start RHP Jose Olague (2-3, 4.10) while Greenville will counter with RHP Yasel Santana (0-2, 6.48). Friday's match-up will be the 10th and final game between Rome and Greenville in the 1st half of the season. It's also Greenville's final game at State Mutual Stadium in 2019.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.