July 24, 2019–7:38 a.m.
Rome Braves All-Star second baseman Greg Cullen continued his strong month of July with a walk-off RBI single on Tuesday night in the 10th inning to lift the Braves over the visiting Hagerstown Suns 5-4 at State Mutual Stadium.
Rome was unable to hold an early three-run lead and needed extras to take down the Suns but was able to do so thanks to consecutive hits from Griffin Benson and Cullen. The late rally erased the Hagerstown lead and gave Rome an exciting first act in their long homestand.
The Braves got the evening going by manufacturing a run in the 1st inning off Suns starter RHP Tomas Alastre. Justin Dean singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout from Braden Shewmake. Dean was again involved in a rally in the 3rd inning when he ripped an RBI double into left to score Brendan Venter and make it 2-0 in favor of Rome.
The Braves lead swelled to 3-0 on an RBI groundout from Cullen in the 6th and Rome starter Odalvi Javier departed after 7 solid frames with the score at 3-1. Hagerstown chipped away and got single runs in the 7th and 8th innings before tying the game against Rome reliever RHP Jose Montilla in the 9th thanks to an unearned run.
In the 10th the Suns took their first lead of the game with another unearned tally but Rome would quickly answer. Shewmake opened the inning with a walk. With runners at first and second and one out, Benson shot an RBI single through the right side to tie the game at 4-4. Cullen followed and poked a grounder between third and short and into left field, scoring Shea Langeliers and giving Rome a 5-4 victory.
Javier received a no-decision but had one of his best starts of the season. He threw 7 innings and allowed one run on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Javier lowered his ERA in the month of July to 1.16 across five starts.
Cullen finished 1-4 with two RBI and a walk. He’s batting .311 this month with a .468 OBP. Dean was 3-4 with a double, walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Benson was 1-2 with two walks, an RBI and was hit by a pitch.
Rome and Hagerstown continue their three-game series Wednesday evening. Game 2 is scheduled for 7 pm at State Mutual Stadium. Rome starts LHP Dilmer Mejia (5-1, 2.61) while Hagerstown puts RHP Jake Irvin (5-7, 4.63) on the mound.
Rome Braves (17-15, 47-54): 5 R 8 H 1 E
Hagerstown Suns (12-19, 42-59): 4 R 12 H 1 E
W: Jose Montilla (3-7)
L: Christian Vann (2-2)