Justin Dean ripped an inside-the-park homerun on the first pitch of the
game and the Rome Braves never looked back, opening the 2019 season with an impressive 9-1 win over the Intimidators in North Carolina on Thursday evening.
After adding a second run in the 1 st inning on a Brendan Venter RBI 1B, Rome erupted for four runs in the 3rd thanks to a Griffin Benson RBI 2B and a three run homer from Venter. Trey Harris added a solo shot in the 5 th and Rome completed their scoring with two runs in the 6 th inning on back to back RBI singles by Harris and Venter, extending the lead to 9-0.
Kannapolis got its lone run in the 8 th inning on a 2B from Steele Walker into centerfield to pull it to 9-1. Rome never trailed in the game.
Venter finished his night 4-5 with a homer, double and 5 RBI. Harris, Dean, and Andrew Moritz all contributed multi-hit efforts as well and Greg Cullen had a hit and two walks.
As the Rome offense sizzled, their pitching staff enjoyed a successful night of its own. RHP Nolan Kingham got the win, tossing five scoreless innings and allowing only three hits, with a strikeout and no walks. Former position player-turned reliever Kurt Hoekstra was dominant on Thursday out of the bullpen, recording four strikeouts in 1.1 innings.
Game two of the series and season is scheduled for 7 pm Friday evening at Intimidators Stadium in Kannapolis. Rome puts RHP Jasseel De La Cruz on the mound. Kannapolis will start LHP Taylor Varnell.
Rome (1-0): 9 R 14 H 1 E
Kannapolis (0-1): 1 R 5 H 1 E
W: Nolan Kingham (1-0)
L: Stiever (0-1)