ROME BRAVES: Dominant win signals new start for Braves
Thursday brought the start of a whole new season for the Rome Braves, and they certainly didn’t waste their opportunity.
Rome starter Max Fried allowed only four hits through six innings, and the offense behind him exploded as the Braves beat the Charleston RiverDogs 12-3 at State Mutual Stadium.
“We just played a really good game tonight, I thought we swung the sticks just outstanding,” Rome manager Randy Ingle said. “We just played a good solid game and Max Fried was just pinpoint tonight and we didn’t commit any errors. So really solid way to start (the second half of) the year.”
The RiverDogs earned a South Atlantic League playoff spot by winning the Southern Division’s first half, but Rome looked like the more powerful team Thursday, jumping to a 5-0 lead in only two innings and disallowing any kind of rally.
The Braves got offense in every which way, whether it was three solo home runs or a string of four straight singles in the second inning. The team finished with a combined 17 hits and 21 baserunners, with Carlos Castro, Justin Ellison and Alejandro Salazar each notching three hits.
“It is just all about putting together better at bats,” Ingle said. “And it is just one game in the second half, but I like how it started out.”
The Braves began the scoring with an Austin Riley home run in the first, and then tallied four more in the second. Jonathan Morales led off with a double, and the aforementioned four straight singles put the home team in a comfortable spot.
After Charleston got its first run in the fifth, Rome responded with solo shots from Justin Ellison and Castro in the following two innings. The Braves added three more runs in the sixth inning, almost exclusively off singles.
Fried finished with six strikeouts, no walks and one run off a solo homer. It is only the fourth time all year he has been able to go six innings, and the first time he did so on less than 80 pitches.
The former Padres first round pick saw the performance a big step in his growth, and admitted the hitting behind him helped.
“I had great fastball command tonight. I could really place that pitch where I wanted,” Fried said. “It is my first game all season with no walks, and that’s a big step for me. But just being able to establish that fastball got everything going.”
The Braves play the RiverDogs again tonight at State Mutual Stadium. First pitch is at 7 p.m.
Pitcher Kolby Allard made a move out of Rome on Thursday as he was transferred to Danville and Bladimir Matos joined the team. Allard threw five innings with no earned runs in his last start for Rome. The California native was the Braves’ 2015 first round pick.
Welcome Ryan Klesko
Fans will have a chance to meet former Atlanta Brave Ryan Klesko before tonight’s Rome Braves game. Klesko, a major piece of Atlanta’s 1995 World Championship team, will sign autographs from 6-6:30 p.m. and throw out the ceremonial first pitch.