The Rome Braves opened the South Atlantic League Championship Series against the BlueClaws of Lakewood (NJ) Monday night at State Mutual Stadium.
A crowd of 2,086 watched a tough 5-0 loss by the hometown team.
Rome and Lakewood did not face one another during the regular season, but both had similar seasons, with losing records in the first half of SAL play, then coming on strong down the stretch to win their respective Second Half, then outright Division titles.
(For a full preview of the series, click HERE.)
Mike Soroka went to the mound for Rome, giving up four runs (none earned) on seven hits, in seven innings of work. He struck out six, and didn’t give up any walks to the BlueClaws.
Soroka pitched well for Rome, but didn’t get any run support, and fielding errors plagued the Braves during Monday’s game.
Rome’s offense had a tough time getting started against Lakewood’s Franklyn Kilome who no hit the Braves through four innings, until Justin Ellison spoiled the bid with a double to start the bottom of the fifth.
Matt Custred came on in relief to start the eighth, giving up a solo homer to Wilson Garcia to start the inning, Lakewood’s first earned run of the game.
Lakewood also changed pitchers in the eighth, bringing on Grant Dyer. Kilome gave up no runs on only one hit, striking out nine in seven innings.