ROME, GA - The visiting Lexington Legends defeated the Rome Braves 6-4 in 10 innings on Tuesday evening at State Mutual Stadium, setting the stage for a rubber game finale on Wednesday. Rome rallied from down three runs to tie it late but was unable to take a lead in the game despite a multitude of chances.
Both sides got a run in the 1st inning. Trailing 1-0 Rome leadoff man Justin Dean tripled and then scored on a Greg Cullen RBI single, making it 1-1.
Lexington broke the tie with a homer from Reed Rohlman in the 4th and later made it 4-1 in the 5th against Rome starter RHP Jose Olague. Once the Braves lineup got into the Legends bullpen by the 6th inning they began to stir.
With one out Rome got three consecutive singles from Braulio Vasquez, Jose Bermudez and Drew Campbell to load the bases. After a strikeout the next two batters, Greg Cullen and Braden Shewmake, each took walks, bringing in a pair of runs and making it 4-3. The Braves would leave the bags full on a fly ball out to right-center.
Still trailing by a run, Griffin Benson opened the 7th inning by reaching base on a hit by pitch, and then advanced to third on an errant pick-off throw. As Benson stood over the bag he and Legends third baseman Nathan Eaton exchanged words and the benches cleared. There were no ejections as the coaches separated the players. It was the second time in the game that tempers had flared between the two division rivals. Once play resumed Vasquez delivered an RBI single up the middle to score Benson and make it 4-4.
Despite their successful efforts in erasing the deficit Rome never managed to gain the lead, stranding runners in scoring position in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th innings. The Braves ended the night going 3-19 with runners in scoring position and left 15 men on base. Lexington won it with two runs, one earned, against Rome reliever LHP Tanner Lawson in the Top of the 10th.
Olague received a no-decision for his work. He threw 6 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out one and walked one.
Vasquez was 2-4 with an RBI and a walk. Braden Shewmake was 2-5 with an RBI and a walk. Cullen went 1-3 with two RBI, two walks and was hit by a pitch. Campbell was 2-4 with a walk and Bermudez was 2-5 with a double and a run scored.
Rome and Lexington conclude their three game series on Wednesday afternoon. Game 3 is scheduled for 1 pm from State Mutual Stadium. Rome will start RHP Odalvi Javier (2-6, 3.66) while Lexington will start LHP Evan Steele (4-2, 1.96).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.