A struggling Rome Braves team came into town dragging the burden of a 12-game losing streak. They’ll leave with more confidence and plenty of momentum after taking two of three from the Augusta GreenJackets.
Brandon Drury drove a bases-loaded, two-out double over the head of center fielder Carlos Willoughby for three runs in the first inning of a 4-2 Rome win. Four Braves pitchers struck out 12 and stranded 11 to give Rome (8-29) back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.
“We really played some solid games in this series,” Rome manager Randy Ingle said. “It was a long, long two weeks, and this team could have folded. But they kept coming every day, tried to stay positive and we knew it was just a matter of time.”
Drury’s hit capped a first inning that saw Rome jump on starting pitcher Joseph Biagini, who was seeing his first action in three weeks. The 26th-round pick was pulled with two outs in the third after giving up three runs on two hits and four walks.
Augusta manager Lipso Nava picked up his first ejection of the season in the top of the third after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Derek Eaton. Trailing 3-0 without their manager, the GreenJackets (17-20) stayed in the game thanks to middle reliever Paul Davis, who threw 4⅓ no-hit innings to get Augusta into the eighth down by a run.
Davis was briefly in the rotation two weeks ago, but Nava said he was put back into the bullpen for just such an occasion.
“He’s been solid in those types of situation,” Nava said. “He pounds the zone and can give us those innings, and that’s his role.”
Augusta squandered prime scoring opportunities in the fifth and sixth innings. A single and two errors loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth before a double play and grounder to second killed the rally without a run scored.
The GreenJackets loaded the bases again in the sixth and got two runs on a John Eshleman single and Kelby Tomlinson’s walk but Jose Cuevas left the bases full after striking out.
Augusta’s 12 strikeouts was one shy of the team’s season high, and matched a season high with 11 runners left on base.
Braves starter Navery Moore (2-1) got the win by taking Rome into the sixth inning with a two-run lead after allowing one run on three hits, three walks and a career-high six strikeouts.