Rome starting pitcher Steve Janas had added motivation in his second start for the Braves on Monday night.
Janas, a Kennesaw State product, threw six solid innings as Rome beat the Augusta GreenJackets 6-5 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The Kennesaw State baseball team beat Alabama earlier in the day in the Tallahassee Regional Championship of the NCAA Division I Tournament, advancing to Super Regionals for the first time in program history.
The 22-year-old Janas, who watched the Kennesaw State win on the team bus, picked up where the Owls left off by allowing two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out seven.
“It couldn’t have been better,” Janas said. “Going to the first Super Regional, and it was good to get a win down here, too. That was pretty cool.”
Janas was drafted in the sixth round in 2013 after recording a 1.14 ERA in 13 starts for the Owls that year.
He induced 10 swinging strikes and avoided hard contact Monday with good command of an upper-80s fastball and a strong slider.
“For the clean innings, the fastball (was important), just locating it and keeping them off balance,” he said. “I flipped in a few sliders to get some ground balls.”
The Braves scored two in the third on an RBI groundout by Johan Camargo and RBI single by Jacob Schrader.
They doubled their lead to 4-0 in the fourth when GreenJackets starter Chase Johnson ran into trouble and failed to get out of the inning. The Braves scored on a walk and a double play.
Augusta (27-28) cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Tyler Horan and sacrifice fly by Brandon Bednar.
Rome (17-40) got breathing room in the eighth and ninth innings with RBI singles by Orrin Sears and Camargo for a three-run lead.
It proved important as the GreenJackets scored two in the ninth on a wild pitch and RBI groundout by Rafael Rodriguez.
“You have to tip your hat to their guys,” Braves manager Jonathan Schuerholz said. “They didn’t quit down by three. That was a big run for us in the top of the ninth.”