ROME, GA - Starting pitcher RHP Jose Olague spun 8 innings of shutout baseball for the Rome Braves on Wednesday, guiding his team to a 5-1 win and consecutive victories against the Asheville Tourists in front of nearly 4,000 fans at State Mutual Stadium.
Playing before an exuberant Education Day crowd the Braves once again performed at the top of their game in all facets. Their reward is the chance for their first sweep of the 2019 season on Thursday evening.
The game was deadlocked 0-0 in a pitcher's duel until the 6th inning when Rome finally got to Asheville starter LHP Colten Schmidt. Andrew Moritz and Greg Cullen opened the frame with back-to-back singles. With runners at the corners and one out, Logan Brown singled through the right side to put Rome on the board. Griffin Benson followed with an RBI double down the right field line and Brendan Venter capped the inning with an opposite-field liner to bring in Benson. An additional run scored on an error.
Rome added their final run in the 7th inning when Harris drove in Justin Dean with a two out infield single, giving him 29 RBI on the year.
The cushion was more than enough for Olague who cruised throughout the majority of his outing. The native of Monterrey, Mexico was again superb and continued his strong month of May. Olague needed only 92 pitches to clear 8 innings. He allowed no runs and only two hits while striking out three and walking one. He retired the first 10 batters he faced in the game. It is the longest appearance by a Rome Braves pitcher this season, besting his own mark of 7 innings back on May 4th against Lakewood.
Asheville scored a run in the 9th inning off LHP reliever Jake Higginbotham to prevent the shutout. The Tourists rally included two singles and a walk.
The Rome pitching staff has allowed only two runs in the first two games of the series with 12 strikeouts and two walks. The defense has not committed an error in 18 innings of clean baseball.
Rome has now won three of its last four series dating back to May 3rd in Lakewood, New Jersey against the BlueClaws and have won 9 of their last 14 games overall.
Benson was 2-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a walk. Harris went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Moritz was 2-4 with a run scored. Brown was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Rome and Asheville conclude their three game set on Thursday evening from State Mutual Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm. Rome will start RHP Trey Riley (1-5, 5.97) while Asheville will counter with LHP Alfredo Garcia (0-3, 9.30).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.