AUGUSTA, Ga. - Gerry Rodriguez's two-out, two-run home run in the sixth inning gave the Rome Braves a lead they wouldn't lose at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Monday night, winning 3-2 to send the Augusta GreenJackets to a 3-2 loss. Augusta has lost nine of their first eleven games in the 2009 campaign.
Rome struck first as Braves right fielder Chris Shehan doubled to lead off the second inning against lefty Eric Surkamp. After advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt, Shehan scored when Surkamp uncorked a wild pitch with Joel Campusano at the plate to give the Braves an early lead.
The GreenJackets rallied to take the lead in the fourth and to charge the Lake Olmstead faithful. With Josh Mazzola at first and one out, Juan Perez drilled a Zeke Spruill offering over the centerfield fence to give Augusta a 2-1 lead. The lead would only last a couple innings though as a result of the Rodriguez blast, proving to be the eventual game-winner.
Augusta had scoring chances late. The 'Jackets had runners at the corners in the seventh with one out when Dom Duggan's bouncing ball over the head of reliever Tim Gustafson was grabbed at short by Ryan Barba, who stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play. Mazzola doubled in the eighth as part of a two-hit night but was left stranded and Johnny Monell singled with two outs in the ninth only to see James Simmons end the game with a ground out right back to pitcher Benito Pruneda, who tossed a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the year.
Surkamp (0-1) takes the loss after a solid six inning effort - an inning he nearly worked out of when Luis Samoza's bloop single to right dropped in for a hit with two outs. The next hitter was Rodriguez, who hit the winning home run. Surkamp fanned seven while only allowing four hits. Chance Corgan threw three scoreless innings of relief to keep Augusta in the game late.
Spruill (0-2) picked up the win after holding the GreenJackets to two runs and six hits without a walk through six innings while striking out seven.