ROME, GA. — Charleston fell below .500 for the season’s second half with a third straight loss, falling 5-3 to the Rome Braves in South Atlantic League baseball at State Mutual Stadium on Monday night.

Rome (29-28 second half, 65-61 overall) scored five runs in the third inning and held off a rally by the RiverDogs (28-29, 67-58).

Charleston got the scoring started in the first inning thanks to a single and stolen base by leadoff man Jake Cave and a two-out RBI single by Dante Bichette Jr. to take a 1-0 lead.

The game stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Braves exploded for five runs on five hits, one walk and a hit batter. Edison Sanchez provided the big blow with a bases-clearing double to knock in three runs and put Rome up, 4-1.

Sanchez finished the series by reaching base safely in his final 11 plate appearances. On Monday, he was a perfect 3 for 3 and got hit by a pitch.

The RiverDogs had a golden opportunity in the top of the sixth to get right back in the game, but failed to take advantage. Angelo Gumbs knocked in a run with a one-out RBI single to load the bases, but reliever Matt Chaffee came in and struck out Reymond Nunez and Danny Oh to end the inning and strand the bases loaded for Charleston with Rome up 5-2.

In the top of the ninth inning, Charleston loaded the bases with only one out, but a sacrifice fly by Jackson Valera and strikeout by Greg Bird ended the ballgame with the tying run at first base.

Bird went 0 for 1 with four walks to move his league-leading total to 95 walks on the season.

Brett Gerritse (8-7) started for Charleston and allowed five runs on six hits, walked one, and fanned four.

Charleston’s bullpen was dynamite with Adam Smith tossing two perfect innings and James Pazos not allowing a run in his lone inning of work.

Mauricio Cabrera (3-7) threw 51/3 innings and allowed six hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts. Chaffee walked one and allowed no hits in his 22/3 scoreless innings. Zach Jadofsky gave up one run on two hits and struck out two in the ninth to collect his third save of the season for the Braves.

Coming up

Charleston returns Riley Park to kick off their second-to-last homestand of the season at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. The West Virginia Power come to town for three games. Game 1 will feature a pitching matchup of right-hander Luis Severino (1-1, 4.08 ERA) for the RiverDogs and righty John Kuchno (8-5, 4.01 ERA) for the Power.

Each Tuesday, the RiverDogs team with MUSC Wellness to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Tuesdays at The Joe feature a healthy menu item and lifestyle tips throughout the game. The new 2-for-$20 Date Night includes two tickets, two slices of pizza, two sodas and one bag of popcorn for $20. Also, local Italian restaurant La Fontana presents the “Lucky Couple of the Game” as one fortunate pair will be selected at random to win a free and romantic Italian dinner. The restaurant will bring in two specialty dishes and the couple will enjoy that dinner in a singular seating arrangement down the right field line.