June 28, 2019–7:38 a.m.
The Rome Braves opened their four-game series with the Greenville Drive by grabbing an exciting win on Thursday night at Flour Field. Braves speedster Jose Bermudez raced home on a fielder’s choice to score the winning run in the Top of the 9th inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and getting Rome off to a successful start on their long road trip through the Carolinas.
Greenville opened the scoring with a run off Rome starter LHP Dilmer Mejia in the 1st inning. Outfielder Jordan Wren drove home Cole Brannen on an RBI force-out, making it 1-0. Mejia prevented further damage in the inning by stranding two runners in scoring position.
Rome would answer in the 2nd inning with a strong rally. Griffin Benson and Henry Quintero opened the frame with consecutive singles. With one out Brendan Venter delivered a two-run double in the left-center field gap, giving Rome a 2-1 lead. Shortstop Braden Shewmake drilled a single into center to score Venter and Rome was up 3-1.
The Drive offense used lead off walks to create rallies in the 2nd and 5th innings. In each frame, the walk eventually led to a run and by the 5th the game was tied up 3-3. With each bullpen firing zeroes, things remained deadlocked until the 9th inning.
Bermudez led off with an infield single up the middle and then stole second base. He took third on a ground-out to short. Greg Cullen came up and the infield moved in. Cullen hit a grounder to third baseman Brandon Howlett, who scooped it and fired to home plate but missed low, allowing Bermudez to score. The fielder’s choice gave Rome the go-ahead run. All-Star reliever RHP Jose Montilla made sure it was the winning run with a lock-down 1-2-3 Bottom of the 9th on the mound.
The victory puts the Braves back at .500 for the 2nd half at 4-4 and places them one game out of first in the Southern Division.
Benson finished the night 2-3 with a walk, stolen base and a run scored. Quintero was 2-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. Venter was 1-4 with a double, run scored and two RBI and Bermudez was 1-3 with a run scored, two stolen bases and a hit by a pitch.
Mejia went 5 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked three. Montilla got the win with 2 shutout innings of work complete with three strikeouts. He walked one and allowed one hit.
Rome was 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts against Greenville on Thursday night.
Rome and Greenville continue their four-game series on Friday evening. First pitch of Game 2 from Flour Field is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Rome starts RHP Alan Rangel (6-4, 4.91). Greenville will counter with RHP Alex Scherff (3-5, 4.19).
Rome Braves (4-4, 34-43): 4 R 9 H 1 E
Greenville Drive (5-3, 37-41): 3 R 6 H 2 E
W: Jose Montilla (2-5)
L: Angel Padron (1-5)