Braves fans who live in Atlanta are lucky enough to be able to see not one, not two, but three Braves teams play in and around the metro Atlanta area. As much as I love to go see the Atlanta Braves, I also enjoy spending a warm summer evening in the smaller confines of Coolray Field, where the Gwinnett Braves (AAA) play, or State Mutual Stadium, where the Rome Braves (A) play.
This year I have added interest in the Rome Braves, because I’ve gotten to know several of the players on the team: Chris Masters, LV Ware and Mycal Jones. Accordingly, I’ve been checking the box score every day during their series in Kannapolis, and boy have they been hot! If the Rome Braves are any indication, the Atlanta Braves have some incredible talent in the pipeline.
Going into Sunday, the Rome Braves are undefeated, having beaten the Kannapolis Intimidators 4-0, 1-0, and 6-3.
The number three prospect in the Braves organization, Julio Teheran, toed the rubber for the first game and went six strong innings where he only gave up two hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. My friend, Chris Masters, shut down the side in the seventh inning with three strikeouts. The Rome Braves were hot at the plate too. Outfielders Kyle Rose and Cory Harrilchak, and third baseman Jordan Kreke each contributed a pair of hits. Both of Kreke’s hits were doubles and one gave him his first RBI of the season. The number six prospect in the Braves pipeline, catcher Christian Bethancourt had his first homerun of the season and contributed the other three RBIs of the game. My friend, LV Ware, had his first hit of the season as well, giving the Rome Braves eight hits in the game. Because the game was the first of a double-header forced by a rainout the night before, the game was shortened to seven innings, and the Rome Braves walked away with a 4-0 win.
In the second game of the night on Friday, the Braves bested the Intimidators 1-0 in seven innings on another eight hits. Playing second, Ryan Barba contributed a pair of hits, with outfielders Kyle Rose and Ramon Flores, shortstop Mycal Jones, DH Riann Spanjer-Furstenburg (can’t wait to see if that fits on a jersey!), third baseman Jordan Kreke and catcher Braeden Schlehuber each contributing a hit. I’d say they’ve got a lineup that can hit top to bottom, no matter who on the roster is playing! They had another strong pitching performance as well, this time by Ryan Weber. He went 4 and 1/3, allowing only one hit while striking out three. He was followed by Luis Avilan for an inning and two-thirds and Tyrelle Harris for an inning, who each had a pair of strikeouts while holding the Intimidators hitless.
Game three of the four-game series was last night and saw the Braves win 6-3 on eleven hits. Again, the lineup produced from top to bottom. The number one and two hitters had a big day. Kyle Rose was in at DH as the leadoff man and went 3 for 4, while Mycal Jones followed in the two hole and went 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Harrilchack, Kreke, Bethancourt, Flores, Weaver and Ware each contributed hits, and Spanjer-Furstenburg had a pair of walks. You couldn’t ask for a more productive lineup! The pitching gave up more runs than in the first two games, but were still tallying up strikeouts. Starter Brett Oberholtzer went four and gave up five hits and a walk and struck out one. Then Paul Clemens and Robinson Lopez each pitched a pair of innings and each racked up a pair of striekouts. Clemens allowed two runs on two hits and a walk, and Lopez gave up one run on one hit when his throwing error allowed a man on base just in time to be driven in by the one hit allowed. Cory Rasmus closed out the game, allowing only one hit while striking out two.
Today at 5:05 p.m. the Rome Braves will go for the sweep in the fourth and final game of the series. Arodys Vizcaino, the top prospect gained by the Braves in the Javier Vazquez trade with the Yankees, is taking the mound today. Listen live at Rome Braves!
Let’s review….the Rome Braves have pitching. The Rome Braves have hitting from top to bottom. The Rome Braves are the real thing! So, if you’re in the Atlanta area, make the drive up to Rome. Their home opener is next Friday, April 16th at 7:00 p.m., and legendary Braves broadcaster Pete van Wieren will be throwing out the first pitch.
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