CHARLESTON, WV - The Rome Braves appeared headed towards another low-scoring defeat on their long road trip before their offense roared to life and claimed an 8-6 victory against West Virginia at Appalachian Power Park. Rome scored four runs in the 7th and added two more in the 8th inning, overcoming a three run margin and earning a series split.
For the second straight day the Braves started fast. In the 1st inning Justin Dean singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Shea Langeliers. In the 2nd inning Jeremy Fernandez hit a leadoff double and came in on an RBI single by Drew Campbell.
West Virginia was able to get to Rome starter RHP Jose Olague and flip the game in their favor. The Power scored three runs on four hits in the 3rd and got a two run homer from Onil Pena in the 4th to take a 5-2 lead.
Having been held scoreless since the 2nd, the Braves lineup woke up in the 7th against the West Virginia bullpen. With two on and one out Greg Cullen lined a shot into left to score a run. Braden Shewmake followed by pulling an RBI single into right field to bring them within one at 5-4. Langeliers came to the plate and drilled a grounder to Power third baseman Bobby Honeyman. He threw to second but missed wide of the bag, allowing two runs to score and putting Rome ahead 6-5.
The Braves added cushion with a pair of solo homers in the 8th. Braulio Vasquez hit his first homerun of the season, a blast out to left center, to make it 7-5. Dean followed two batters later with a line shot to left to put Rome up 8-5. It was Dean's third homerun of the series and fourth of the road trip.
Rome reliever LHP Tanner Lawson surrendered an unearned run but completed the final 2 innings to earn the save and allow the Braves to split the four game series.
Vasquez had perhaps his best game as a Rome Brave, finishing 3-4 with a homer and two runs scored. Dean went 2-5 with a homer and two runs scored. Cullen was 2-4 with an RBI and a walk. Langeliers was 1-4 with a sac fly and two RBI. Carlos Paraguate was 2-4 with a run scored.
Rome concludes its road trip with three wins in seven games and will enjoy an off day on Wednesday before beginning a crucial four game set with the 1st place Augusta GreenJackets Thursday evening. Game 1 is scheduled for 7 pm on Thursday from State Mutual Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.