August 27, 2019–5:56 a.m.
Pitching and defense were the bedrocks of the Rome Braves 1-0 victory over Greensboro on Monday, as the race for the postseason heats up with one week to go. Starting their final road trip of the regular season, the Braves got a run in the 2nd inning and then held off numerous threats by the Grasshoppers to complete a 1-0 shutout.
Thanks to an Asheville loss to Charleston, the Rome Braves now find themselves only two games out of the division lead.
Rome held Greensboro scoreless with a trio of arms; starter RHP Ricky DeVito and lefty relievers Jake Higginbotham and Gabriel Noguera. The group frequently bent, but would not break as the Hoppers finished the night 1-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Rome got the only run of the game in the 2nd when Brendan Venter lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left field to score Shea Langeliers. That run was all the Braves would need on Monday.
In the 3rd inning, the Hoppers threatened with a two-out single. Jonah Davis was waved in from second base but Rome right fielder Michael Harris gunned him down at the plate with a perfect throw to Langeliers. Harris would add a diving catch in the right-center the gap to take away an extra-base hit in the 8th inning.
Greensboro had the tying run in scoring position in almost every frame, stranding at least one in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th inning. Each time the Rome pitching staff wriggled themselves off the hook. Noguera struck out Davis in the 9th inning with the tying run at second base to end the game.
Langeliers was 1-4 with a run scored. Justin Dean was 1-4 with a single and a stolen base. Hagen Owenby went 1-3 with a walk. Venter was 0-3 with an RBI.
Rome batters had only three hits and struck out 16 times. They went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Still, it was enough to win.
DeVito received a no-decision. He threw 4 shutout innings and allowed four hits and three walks. He struck out one. Higginbotham pitched 2 scoreless frames, surrendering two hits and two walks and punching out three batters.
Noguera earned a 3 inning save. He allowed no runs, no hits, and only one walk. He struck out two hitters.
Rome and Greensboro continue their four-game series on Tuesday evening at First National Bank Field. First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 7 pm. The Braves are expected to start LHP Dilmer Mejia (8-3, 2.60) while Greensboro counters with RHP Steven Jennings (6-11, 4.88).
Rome Braves (33-30, 63-69) 1 R 3 H 1 E
Greensboro Grasshoppers (31-31, 75-56) 0 R 6 H 0 E
W: Jake Higginbotham (4-4)
L: Will Kobos (1-3)
S: Gabriel Noguera (2)