(Media release from the Rome Braves):
After a five games to one series win over the Winston-Salem Dash, the Rome Braves hit the road for their longest road trip of the season. Rome would head north to take on the South Atlantic League’s best team in the Aberdeen IronBirds. Entering their series with the Braves, Aberdeen had twenty-four wins and only seven losses, and lead the SAL’s North Division by as many as seven and a half games.
Game One: IronBirds 4, Braves 2
Royber Salinas got the ball to start the series for the Braves, looking to set the tone early in a key series. Salinas got off to a fine start, recording three scoreless frames for the Braves. However, despite punching out seven Aberdeen hitters, all the runs the IronBirds scored came off pitches from Salinas.
The Braves’ lone offensive spark came in the top of the sixth when Justyn-Henry Malloy would score Bryson Horne on a sacrifice fly, and Landon Stephens would double to drive in Cody Milligan. Salinas would be credited with his second loss as a Rome Brave, and the IronBirds would win their twenty-fifth contest of the season.
Game Two: Braves 2, IronBirds 1
Looking to bounce back and even up the series, Rome sent lefty Luis De Avila to the mound in game two against the Ironbirds. Rome would get on the board in the opening frame with a Justyn-Henry Malloy sacrifice fly that drove in Cody Milligan. Rome and Aberdeen would go scoreless for the next five innings, as both pitching staffs recorded stellar outings. Luis De Avila went five full innings, and despite giving up six hits, De Avila would surrender no runs and notch four strikeouts. The lone run the Braves would give up would come from an Aberdeen homer off the bat of Colton Cowser.
Beau Philip would be the night’s here with a single to center field that gave the Braves a one run lead headed into the bottom of the ninth. The IronBirds would go down in order in the final frame, giving the Braves the win by a score of two runs to one.
Game Three: IronBirds 5, Braves 1
Rome would only be able to tally four total hits in the third game of the series against Aberdeen. The lone offensive highlights would be Cody Milligan’s two for four night that included an RBI double that scored Willie Carter. Milligan’s double would provide the only runs of the night for the Braves.
Roddery Munoz would go four and two thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, and Lisandro Santos would relieve him and surrender four runs on three hits. Santos would be tabbed with his second loss of the season.
Game Four: Braves 6, IronBirds 0
The fourth game between the ‘Birds and Braves would be all Braves from start to finish. Rome drew first blood in the top of the third with a Justyn-Henry Malloy home run to left field. Braves’ backstop Javier Valdes would have himself a night, going two for three with two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored. One of Valdes’s hits would be his third homer of the year. Bryson Horne would also smack his first long ball of the year.
Although the Braves scored six runs, Dylan Dodd and the pitching staff only needed one. Dodd recorded his best outing of the year in his start against the IronBirds, hurling six shutout innings with four punchouts and three hits. His dominant performance was enough to earn him South Atlantic League pitcher of the week honors. Dylan Spain, Alec Barger, and Austin Smith would combine to eat three innings and keep Aberdeen off the scoreboard , giving the Braves the win six runs to none.
Game Five: Braves 8, IronBirds 3
Rome would turn to Andrew Hoffmann in game five with the IronBirds, looking to at least clinch a split of the series with the best team in the South Atlantic League. In a situation where he needed to deliver, Andrew Hoffmann delivered. The young right hander would toss six innings and only allow three runs. Hoffmann would notch eight strikeouts in his second recorded win of the season.
The Braves’ Bats would be the story of the night, as they exploded out of the gate with a four-run first inning. Justyn-Henry Malloy, Cade Bunnell, and Byson Horne would all contribute to the first inning fun that set the Braves up for a solid night at the plate. Javier Valdes would belt his second homer in as many days, and the Braves would top the IronBirds by a score of eight runs to three.
Game Six: Braves 9, IronBirds 4
With a chance to hand the IronBirds their first series loss of the 2022 campaign, the Rome Braves would prove that they have what it takes to hang around the top of the South Atlantic League.
Vaughn Grissom would get the party started in the top of the first by sending his fourth home run of the year over the center field wall. Grissom would also steal home in the top of the third. No big deal. Justyn-Henry Malloy would smack his fifth homer of the year, and Grissom would finish his day three for four with three RBI and four runs scored.
The Braves bullpen would bail out Royber Salinas, who had a less than ideal outing in the series finale. The Rome Pen would combine to cover six and a third of an inning without allowing an IronBird to touch home plate.
Rome would secure the series win by taking the series finale by a score of nine to four.
Sitting just a half game out of first place, the Braves now travel to Hudson Valley to take on the Renegades. Back in April, Rome took four out of six from Hudson Valley in the first homestand of the year for the Braves. Luis De Avila will get the ball in game one for the Braves.