June 14, 2019–7:55 a.m.
The Rome Braves overcame an early four-run deficit to defeat Augusta 7-4 in their series opener at SRP Park on Thursday evening, sending the GreenJackets tumbling out of 1st place in the Southern Division standings.
Trailing 4-0 after the 1st inning the Rome offense began to slowly but surely chip away at the Augusta advantage, finally tying it up in the 7th and taking the lead in the 8th. Led by lefty reliever Dilmer Mejia the Rome bullpen was phenomenal, throwing 8.1 scoreless innings and allowing only one hit with seven strikeouts.
Augusta took their early advantage but was then held in check by Mejia. With the Nicaraguan southpaw doing his work it gave the lineup time to build the comeback. Rome scored two runs in the 3rd inning off a wild pitch and an RBI groundout. The Braves pulled within a run at 4-3 in the 5th inning on an RBI single by Logan Brown.
The tying run scored in the 7th inning on an opposite-field solo home run by Greg Cullen, his fourth homer of the season.
The Braves took their first lead of the night in the 8th inning as Jeremy Fernandez ripped a two-run triple down the left field line to score Ariel Montesino and Andrew Moritz. Fernandez later scored on a throwing error, making it 7-4. Luis Mora and Jake Higginbotham shut it down the rest of the way to give Rome the win and loosen Augusta’s grip on 1st place.
Fernandez was 3-5 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored. Cullen was 2-3 with a homer, a walk and was hit by a pitch. He scored two runs. Brown went 2-4 with an RBI and a walk. Montesino was 1-3 with a double, walk and was hit by a pitch.
Mejia threw 6 innings and allowed no runs and no hits. He struck out four and walked three while lowering his season ERA to 1.42.
Rome and Augusta continue their four-game series on Friday night at SRP Park. Game 2 is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Rome will start RHP Odalvi Javier (2-3, 4.13) while Augusta has not announced their starting pitcher.
Rome Braves (29-37): 7 R 11 H 0 E
Augusta GreenJackets (34-31): 4 R 3 H 2 E
W: Luis Mora (1-0)
L: Sandro Cabrera (2-1)
S: Jake Higginbotham (1)