An 8th inning double by Matt Fields gave the Columbus Catfish the lead, and hometown hero Brian Baker shut down Rome in the 9th to give the Catfish a 5-3 win over the Braves tonight. It was the 5th straight win over Rome this season.
Rome scored an unearned run in the top of the 1st. The Catfish responded with a run in the bottom of the inning, on an RBI single by 3B Cesar Suarez that scored CF Desmond Jennings, who had singled to start the inning.
Back to back doubles by Rome in the 2nd inning allowed the visitors to take the lead. It would have been more, but RF Quinn Stewart fielded a ground ball single, and threw to C Craig Albernaz, who held on to the ball when Rome 3B Brandon Monk ran him over trying to score. Instead, it was out three, and the inning ended with a 2-1 Rome lead.
In the 4th, Rome scored another run on a single and a triple. The Catfish got a run back in the bottom of the inning when DH Ryan Royster hit a solo shot over the right center field wall.
The Catfish stranded runners on third base in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. But in the 8th, with 1 out, Royster singled, moved to second when SS Brett Grandstrand walked. After a pitching change, 1B Matthew Fields doubled, scoring Royster and Grandstrand. After a walk and a fielder's choice, Jennings singled, bringing Fields home, and giving the Catfish a 5-3 lead.
Catfish starter Jeremy Hellickson allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, in 5 innings. He struck out 3. Wilton Noel struck out 4 in 2 innings relief. Columbus native Brian Baker came on in the 8th and sat Rome down in order. He allowed a 2-out double in the 9th, but forced the 3rd ground ball out of the inning, and picked up his 1st win of the season.
The Catfish have now beaten Rome in all 5 meetings this season. Tomorrow's game is a mid-day affair, staring at 11:00 AM. I'll be there.