Right-hander Adonis Rosa struck out seven across four shutout innings of relief to keep Charleston in striking distance, but an early 4-0 deficit proved too deep a hole to dig out of as the RiverDogs fell 4-1 to the Rome Braves on Monday night at State Mutual Stadium to open a four-game set.
Rosa’s dominant effort righted the ship for a RiverDogs bullpen that had allowed nine runs over the previous three nights despite a sparkling 1.94 ERA among relivers heading into play. With the loss, the RiverDogs (37-38, 3-2) drop their second game of their season-long eight game road trip to start the second half.
Left fielder Alex Palma produced his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored from the nine hole in an otherwise dismal night for the Charleston offense who went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Rome (41-34, 3-2) jumped out to a 1-0 advantage right away in the bottom of the first. Speedy right fielder Randy Ventura reached on an infield single, one of the Braves’ four hits that didn’t touch the outfield grass, to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Cristian Pache singled on an infield chopper to put runners at the corners. After Justin Ellison struck out, first baseman Austin Bush tickled an 0-2 pitch into left field to score Ventura.
The Braves opened the floodgates in the third, scoring three times to push themselves out to the largest lead of the night. Ventura singled for the second consecutive bat to lead off an inning before former Gamecock shortstop Marcus Mooney doubled to left to plate a run as part of a 3-for-4 night. After Pache moved up Mooney on a fly ball, Ellison added another infield hit to score the runner from third. Catcher Lucas Herbert made it 4-0 Rome on a base knock into right.
Charleston got on the board in the sixth inning. On a sac fly to center, Angel Aguilar drove in Palma who led off the frame with a single.
The RiverDogs had a great chance to get back into the ballgame in the eighth, but failed to capitalize. Palma doubled to right field before Hoy Park drove a single into left-center and advanced on a subsequent wild pitch to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Lefty Joe Rogers struck out the next three Charleston hitters to leave the pair stranded and the Braves ahead by three.
Nick Green (4-5) yielded all four runs in the start for Charleston on ten hits to take the loss, needing 86 pitches to get through just four innings.
Dominican righty Bladimir Matos (2-2) took over for Rome in the fifth inning and pitched two frames with one run allowed, garnering the win. Braves first-rounder Ian Anderson logged four scoreless frames with six strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 3.72 in a no-decision start.
The RiverDogs continue their eight-game road trip to start the second half, taking on the Braves in game two on Tuesday night at 7pm. Charleston rolls out righty Freicer Perez (3-2, 3.24), opposed by Rome southpaw Tucker Davidson (1-2, 2.38). The game can be tuned into on WTMA 1250 AM and streaming online via the RiverDogs’ TuneIn radio station.