For the third straight day, the Rome Braves got a strong outing from a starting pitcher and used a balanced offensive attack to beat the Charleston RiverDogs, 8-5, Saturday night in front of 3,912 fans in South Atlantic League action at Riley Park.
The RiverDogs fall to 23-26 in the second half and 62-55 overall.
The Braves (23-26, 58-60) got going early to the tune of three runs on three hits, one walk and a hit batter in the top of the first inning capped off by a two-out, two-RBI single by Tyler Tewell, who finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs. They added a couple more runs on a two-run homer by Felix Marte in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
Sean Gilmartin followed the lead of the previous two starters for Rome and turned in a strong performance on the mound. He allowed just one run on four hits, no walks, and collected five strikeouts to collect the victory and move to 1-0.
Offensively for Charleston, the bats were slow to get going. After being stifled for the first four frames, Francisco Rosario hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Reymond Nunez and make it a 5-1 game after five innings of play. Rome got that run back, though, in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Ronald Luna to go up 6-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Charleston cut the lead to 6-3 thanks to Ericson Leanora’s RBI double and Nunez’s RBI single.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, Nunez hit a two-run homer over the left-field wall to cut the Rome lead to 6-5. Nunez finished the game 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored to pace Charleston at the plate.
That was as close as the RiverDogs would get, however, as the Braves tacked on two runs in the ninth to go up 8-5, and held on to win by that score.
Greg Bird and Jackson Valera each chipped in with two hits for Charleston.
Evan Rutckyj got the loss for Charleston after surrendering six runs on six hits, three walks and five strikeouts in 51/3 innings pitched. His record now stands at 9-8. Adam Smith threw 12/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Ben Paullus gave up two runs on four hits in two frames.
Alex Wilson tossed a scoreless ninth inning and earned his fifth save of the year for Rome.
Legendary sportscaster Bob Costas was in attendance and took part in the RiverDogs radio broadcast for an inning.
The series finale is at 5:05 p.m. Sunday at Riley Park.