ROME, GA - The Rome Braves completed their first sweep of the 2019 season on Thursday evening with a 10-5 triumph over the visiting Asheville Tourists.
After falling behind 2-0 early the Rome offense began to attack Asheville starter LHP Alfredo Garcia in the 2nd inning. Outfielder Jose Bermudez brought in Griffin Benson with a two out infield single to bring Rome with a run. In the 3rd inning the Braves took the lead for good. Greg Cullen and Trey Harris opened the frame with consecutive singles. Logan Brown ripped an opposite-field triple into the left center gap to put the Braves in front. Brown later scored in the inning on single by Derian Cruz, making it 4-2 Braves.
Rome added three more runs in a 5th inning rally, ignited by a leadoff triple from Benson into right field. Cruz scored him on a sacrifice fly. Bermudez reached on a walk and Justin Dean followed with a single. Both scored on the same play as a wild pitch turned into an error, staking the Braves to a 7-2 advantage.
Asheville would not go quietly. The Tourists used a pair of walks to help chase starter RHP Trey Riley from the game. Reliever RHP Matt Hartman entered in his Rome debut and inherited the tying run on base. He would escape the jam with a strikeout and a lineout to preserve Rome's lead at 7-5.
The Braves pushed back with two runs in the 7th inning. Dean drove a triple to center field, scoring Cruz. Ricardo Rodriguez then brought Dean home on a sacrifice fly. The Braves got their final run in the 8th inning when Harris reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch.
The 16 hit assault is a new season-high for the Braves, surpassing the previous mark of 14 from Opening Day on April 4th in Kannapolis. The three triples was also a season-best total.
Rome hitters collected 38 hits in 24 innings of at-bats during the three game series against the Asheville pitching staff.
All nine players in the lineup Thursday finished with at least one hit and six of them enjoyed multi-hit games. Cullen went 3-5, Dean 2-4 with a triple, Benson 2-5 with a triple, Cruz 2-3, Harris 2-5, and Brown 2-5 with a double and a triple. Riley got the win, going 5.1 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two. Hartman was excellent in his debut and earned the save for pitching 3.2 scoreless innings in relief. He struck out six and walked only one while allowing two hits.
Rome continues their homestand on Friday and welcomes the Columbia Fireflies to State Mutual Stadium to open a four game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm. Rome will start RHP Odalvi Javier (1-2, 5.04).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.