The second road trip of the season for the Columbus Catfish began well Saturday night, as they defeated the Rome Braves (Braves, duh) 7-1.
RR John Matulia went 5-for-5, a home-run short of the cycle, to lead the Catfish 12-hit attack. LF Ryan Royster was 3-for-4, with 3 doubles on the night.
The Catfish started things early, with Matulia hitting a 1-out triple to right field. With 2 outs, C Nevin Ashley singled on a ground ball to center, scoring Matulia.
In the 3rd, Matulia doubled with 1 out, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on 3B Cesar Suarez's sacrifice fly, putting the Catfish up 2-0.
Rome closed the gap in the 4th, when Braves 1B Josh Morris doubled, scoring CF Jordan Schafer.
In the 5th, Catfish 2B Brett Grandstrand reached on an error, stole second, and went to third on SS Jairo De La Rosa's bunt single. CF Desmond Jennings singled, scoring Grandstrand. Matulia reached on a bunt single, loading the bases. Rome P Timothy Gustafson struck out Suarez, but the wild pitch allowed De La Rosa to score, making it 4-1. With 2 outs, Royster's 2nd double brought Jennings and Matulia around, and the Catfish had a 6-1 lead.
1B Matt Fields homered to lead off the 7th, making it 7-1.
Catfish starter Wade Townsend went 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and a run, striking out 9 on the way to his 3rd win. Columbus native Brian Baker pitched 2 innings of relief, allowing 3 hits, and striking out 2. Neal Frontz pitched the 9th inning to seal the win.
The win improves the Catfish to 9-8, in 4th place in the division, 2 games out of 2nd place. The Catfish have 3 more games in Rome, then head to Charleston, South Carolina for 4 games before returning home on April 30 against Rome.