ROME, GA - The Rome Braves concluded their pivotal series against 1st place Augusta with an 11 run thrashing of the GreenJackets on Sunday afternoon, delivering the home team a series win and drawing the Braves to within 2 games of the Southern Division lead with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Rome lineup erupted for 11 runs on 9 hits and also took 10 walks, giving them plenty of run-scoring chances throughout the game. The pitching staff was led by starter LHP Dilmer Mejia who went 7 strong innings and earned the win.
Rome manufactured some early damage against former Braves farmhand RHP Keith Weisenberg, who started for Augusta. In the 2nd inning Rome got their first run after a pair of singles, a wild pitch and a double-play grounder. In the 3rd another run scored on an RBI groundout by Hagen Owenby.
In the 5th Rome's reigning Player of the Month, Greg Cullen, would deliver an RBI triple to make it 3-0. Cullen later scored on an RBI hit from Jeremy Fernandez to give the Braves a 4-0 lead.
It was in the 8th inning when Rome blew the game open. Already up 5-0 the Braves went to work on the Augusta bullpen. Cullen took a bases-loaded walk, making it 6-0 and Shewmake followed with the dagger: a grand slam homerun out to left for a 10-0 lead. It was Rome's first grand slam of the season. An additional run would score later in the inning on an RBI triple from Fernandez, capping the scoring and allowing the Braves to cruise to an 11-0 win against their rival and win three of four games in the series at State Mutual Stadium.
Mejia was brilliant all afternoon, pitching 7 innings and surrendering just four hits, all singles. He struck out five and did not issue a walk.
The Rome pitching staff ended the series by firing 19 consecutive scoreless innings. All three Braves wins in the series came via shutout.
Shewmake finished his day going 3-4 with a homer, walk, four RBI and four stolen bases. Fernandez was 2-4 with a triple, walk and two RBI. Cullen went 1-4 with a triple, a walk and two RBI. Shea Langeliers was 1-3 with two walks. Justin Dean was 0-2 with three walks and three stolen bases.
Rome now departs for a long road trip through the Carolinas, playing three games Monday-Wednesday in Asheville and then going to Columbia for a four game set beginning Thursday evening. Rome's next home game is August 20th versus Kannapolis.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.