August 17, 2019–11:23 p.m.
Rome put an end to several pesky losing streaks with a satisfying 4-0 shutout victory against the Columbia Fireflies on Saturday evening. The win was Rome’s first of the series and gives them a chance to split the four-game set on Sunday. It also ends a six-game losing streak for Rome at Segra Park and a six-game losing streak to Columbia overall which dated back to May 19th.
Rome got a solid start from RHP Alan Rangel who spun 6 scoreless innings and earned his 10th victory of the season. Lefty reliever Jake Higginbotham locked down the Fireflies over 3 frames to get his 4th save of the season.
The offense was stagnant until the 6th when they paired a couple of timely hits with some Columbia mistakes. Michael Harris reached on a fielding error and advanced to third base on a single by Greg Cullen. Bryce Ball stepped in and delivered an RBI hit into center, breaking the scoreless tie and putting Rome on the board. Hagen Owenby followed with a force-out, as Fireflies shortstop Ronny Mauricio tried to turn two but threw wide of first base and allowed a second run to score in the inning.
Rome padded their lead with a two-out, two-run homer from Brendan Venter into the left-field bleachers. It was his 5th bomb of the season and gave Rome a 4-0 advantage. Higginbotham struck out two in the bottom of the 9th to ice it and the Braves had the win.
Venter finished the night 2-4 with a homer, double and two RBI. Cullen was 2-4 with a run scored. Ball was 1-4 with an RBI.
Rangel went 6 innings, allowing no runs and only one hit. He struck out five and walked four. Higginbotham threw 3 innings and allowed no runs while surrendering three hits. He struck out three and walked no one.
Rome and Columbia conclude their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch of Game 4 from Segra Park is scheduled for 5:05 pm. The Braves will start LHP Mitch Stallings who will be making his Rome debut. Columbia is expected to start RHP Colin Holderman (3-1, 3.59).
Rome Braves (27-28, 57-67) 4 R 6 H 1 E
Columbia Fireflies (25-30, 49-72) 0 R 4 H 2 E
W: Alan Rangel (10-7)
L: Daison Acosta (1-3)
S: Jake Higginbotham (4)