The Rome Braves welcomed the Bowling Greens Hot Rods to town for the second time this season. After a flurry of roster moves on Tuesday morning, the Rome Braves line up would look a lot different to the Hot Rods this time around.
J.J. Niekro would make his High-A debut tonight after being promoted from Augusta. J.J. is the nephew of the late Braves legend Phil Niekro, and the son of Joe Niekro who also pitched for the Braves.
Niekro would get straight to work, as he struck out the side in the top half of the first, and would not allow a run until the top of the third when Michael Berglund would reach on a fielder’s choice that allowed Johan Lopez to score.
Niekro’s final line in his first game in Rome would see him record six full innings, give up only three hits, and punch out six Hot Rod batters.
Landon Stephens would get the offensive party started with his eighteenth home run of the year, knotting up the game at one run each in the home half of the fourth inning.
Rome would break it open in the bottom of the fifth, as Beau Philip would lead off the frame with his seventh home run of the year. Christian Robinson would follow with his fourth home run of the year, making it a three to one score in favor of the Braves. A rehabbing Jordan Cowan would tack on one more with a ground ball single to score Jacob Pearson and Cal Conley to put Rome up five runs to one.
Christian Robinson and Jacob Pearson would both drive in a run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Braves a seven to one lead headed into the late innings.
Rome’s bullpen would take the stage and continue their string of dominance. RJ Freure, Jose Montilla, and Isrrael De La Cruz would combine to eat the last three innings and keep Bowling Green’s offense at bay. The trio would total three hits, two runs, no walks, and two strike outs, securing the seven to three win for Rome.
Cal Conley’s three for five night would help secure Rome’s forty-eighth win on the season, and their twelfth win of the second half. The win will swell the Braves’ divisional lead over Bowling Green to two and a half games. The Braves and Hot Rods will tee it back up tomorrow afternoon for a 1:00 PM start with Royber Salinas on the mound for the Braves.