The Rome Braves scored five runs in the seventh inning to erase a 3-2 deficit and cruise to an 8-4 win on Friday night over the Charleston RiverDogs in South Atlantic League action in front of 5,768 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
With the loss, the RiverDogs fall to 34-33 in the second half and 73-62 overall. The Braves improve to 36-31 in second half play and 72-64 overall with the win.
Both teams played long ball early with solo homers by Edison Sanchez for Rome and Ericson Leonora for Charleston in the second inning.
Still tied at 1-1 in the top of the fifth, Kyle Wren smacked just his second home run of the year to put the Braves up 2-1.
However, that lead didn't last long because after a walk to Greg Bird, righty slugger Dante Bichette, Jr. slammed his 11th homer of the year. The two-run shot gave the Dogs their first lead of the game, a 3-2 advantage.
RiverDogs' starter Brett Gerritse departed after six solid innings having allowed just four hits, two runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. The two homers were the first two he allowed all year. Gerritse wouldn't factor in the decision.
Righty Victor Beriguete came out of the bullpen to begin the seventh and was no relief for Charleston. In his debut for the Dogs, Beriguete allowed five run, four earned, on three hits, two walks, two wild pitches, and recorded just one out. He got tagged with the loss to fall to 1-0.
Lefty Matt Chaffee was great for Rome out of the bullpen tossing 2.1 scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two and fanned six en route to the win to improve to 2-1.
Greg Bird had another great game for the RiverDogs with three walks and a single. He now has a league leading 103 walks on the season.
BALLPARK FUN: The RiverDogs red, white, and blue digi camo jerseys were auctioned off during the game, and following the completion of the game were handed directly off the team's backs to the fans who purchased them via the silent auction.
COMING UP: Game two of this four game series will see RHP Luis Niebla (4-6, 4.99 ERA) start for Charleston and RHP Rafael Briceno (5-8, 6.34 ERA) throw for Rome on Saturday night at Riley Park with first pitched scheduled for 6:05. It's Roller Derby Night at The Joe! There will be roller derby-themed promotions throughout the night and the Lowcountry Highrollers team will be at the game. The RiverDogs will offer Baseball Bingo with a new twist to the classic game as it will be available to be downloaded as an app to your smartphone so you can follow the action and go for the win simultaneously via your mobile device. Fans can also enjoy craft beer specials that will be on tap including Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Third Shift Amber Lager and more. The Blood Alliance team will be on-site from 4:30-7:30 pm and everyone who registers to donate will receive a FREE 4-pack of RiverDogs tickets. Plus, kids get the chance to have fun and run the bases after every Saturday home. Fans can purchase tickets at www.riverdogs.com, over the phone at 843/723-7241, or in-person at the Riley Park Box Office. Fans may also listen to the game live locally on ESPN Radio 910AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.