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AP Top 25: Clemson, Alabama and Georgia remain no. 1-3; Auburn moves up; Florida slides. Full report
- From the SEC: Alabama is no. 2, Georgia no. 3, LSU, 6; Auburn, 10; Florida, 11; Texas A&M, 12.
- From the ACC: Clemson is no. 1; Syracuse, 21.
Asheville tops Rome Braves 5-3 to end both teams’ 2019 season at State Mutual Stadium. Media release: The Rome Braves brought a close to their 2019 season with a 5-3 loss to Asheville on Monday in a game defined by spotty infield defense and unearned runs.
The Tourists took full advantage of four Braves errors and two other fielding miscues which led directly to runs, sapping some of the strength from an impressive performance by the Rome pitching staff.
Making his third start of the season, RHP Victor Vodnik pitched well. Asheville got to him for an unearned run off a fielding error in the 2nd inning. The Rome offense responded immediately with a rally in the Bottom of the 2nd as the first three batters all reached on hits. Hagen Owenby singled up the middle. Brendan Venter roped a sharp line drive into left and Ricardo Rodriguez brought them both home on a double down the left field line to put the Braves in front 2-1.
The lead would be short-lived as the defense faltered once again. Asheville scored the tying run in the 3rd inning with two outs after an infield pop-up was lost in the sun behind second base.
Asheville retook the lead in the 6th inning with two more unearned runs, this time on a throwing error and a ball meant for first base that ended up in left field and allowed two to cross the plate. Rome would never lead again but did come close.
In the 8th inning Rodriguez delivered another RBI hit, making it a 4-3 game but the Braves would leave the tying run on base. Asheville added an insurance run in the 9th and won it 5-3. It was the only run the Tourists scored all day that wasn’t gift-wrapped by a defensive mistake.
Vodnik was strong in his final outing. He threw 5 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out five and walked one while receiving a no-decision. Reliever RHP Jose Montilla took the loss in his final appearance of the year although he did not allow an earned run across 2 innings of work.
Venter concluded his strong final month of the season with a 3-4 day and scored two runs. Rodriguez was 2-4 and drove in all three Rome runs in the game. He also stole a base. Leadoff man Justin Dean went 1-4 with a walk and stole two bases, giving him a league-best 47 steals this season. Owenby was 1-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Venter and Michael Harris hit safely in every game of the four game series.
Rome ends its season by losing three of four games in the set to Asheville and finishes an even 35-35 in the second half of the year.
Rome’s next game is Opening Day of the 2020 season, scheduled for Thursday April 9th at State Mutual Stadium against the Hagerstown Suns.
Rome Braves (35-35, 65-74) 3 R 11 H 4 E
Asheville Tourists (39-31, 68-72) 5 R 11 H 1 E
W: Nick Bush (9-9)
L: Jose Montilla (3-9)
S: PJ Poulin (13)
Season in review:
- The Braves finished with an overall record of 65-74 (35-35 in the second half); Rome made a run for the playoffs in late August but faltered.
- Rome’s Justin Dean had the league’s most runs and stolen bases in 2019.
- Attendance was around 2,215 people per game for 69 home games this year, down around 70 fans per game from 2018. That’s 10th out of the 14 teams in the South Atlantic League; Rome is the smallest market in the league.
- Playoffs: Delmarva and Hickory will battle to represent the north; in the Braves’ southern division, it will be Augusta vs. Lexington. SAL
What’s ahead in 2020:
- Rome Braves’ 2020 season schedule; open at home with seven-game stretch on April 9. Rome Braves 2020
- State Mutual Stadium will undergo upgrades during the off-season, in part funded by special tax dollars approved by voters and by additional funds contributed by the Atlanta Braves organization.
- The South Atlantic League’s All-Star game returns to Rome in June; the game itself is June 23. All-Star
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
LOCAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Shorter University football will return to action on Saturday night. The Hawks (0-0, 0-0 Gulf South) will travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to take on the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers (0-1, 0-0 Southern) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. For fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City, the game will be broadcast internationally on ESPN+. The contest will mark the fifth-consecutive season in which Shorter has taken on an NCAA Division I school. Last season, Shorter opened the season in Birmingham, Alabama when they traveled to take on No. 10 Samford. Offensively, the Hawks are led by senior quarterback Tyler Pullum. The Effingham, GA product has rewritten the history books throughout his career at Shorter, breaking every passing record. Throughout Shorter’s 2018 campaign, Pullum threw for 1,856 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 56.12% of his pass attempts. On the defensive side, Nehemiah Reddish leads the way. The junior out of Rome, GA led the defense with 70 tackles last season. Reddish was the lone Hawk named to the Preseason All-Gulf South Conference team earlier this summer. Shorter will open their home slate with a Gulf South Conference game against the University of West Florida on Saturday, Sept.14. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. at Barron Stadium.
- Shorter Hawks at East Tennessee State, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Hawks
Berry College Vikings open the 2019 season at Maryville on Saturday. 2 p.m. kickoff. Vikings
LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS
VanCampen Claims Season’s First SAA Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week (FULL RELEASE)
- The Atlanta Falcons. Next: Season opener at Minnesota at 1 p.m. Sunday on Fox. Falcons