AUGUSTA, Ga. – Joe Biagini's night started perfectly as he retired the side in order in the first two innings. However, Biagini's perfection didn't last long.
Rome's Joey Meneses led off the third inning with a single. Biagini then walked four of the next six batters to put the Braves up 2-0 early in the game.
Unfortunately the GreenJackets (54-49) could not overcome the Braves (53-53) early lead as Augusta lost 9-6 at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Mason McVay came in with bases loaded in the third inning to relieve Biagini. McVay escaped the jam as he got Rome's Carlos Franco to line out to center field. But McVay's night turned in the fourth.
The Braves' Ross Heffley doubled to left field to score Tyler Tewell who had reached on a single. Then Rome's Kyle Wren singled to score Joey Meneses who also reached on a single. The final run of the inning came on a sacrifice fly by Jose Peraza to score Heffley.
Rome then put up two more runs in the fifth to give the Braves a 7-1 lead.
The GreenJackets slowly started to edge their way back.
Shawn Payne started the bottom of the fifth with a single to right field and advanced to third on a fielding error by Rome's Dan Carroll. Payne then scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Rapp.
Augusta scored two more runs in the sixth.
Catcher Ben Turner hit his 18th double of the season to start off the inning and scored on a single by Alberto Robles. Payne later scored on a line drive to left field to score center fielder Andrew Cain who reached first earlier in the sixth on a walk.
While the Braves put up another run in the eighth, the GreenJackets responded with two more.
Cain, Robles and left fielder Rafael Rodriguez had back-to-back-to-back doubles to start the bottom of the eighth. Rodriguez's double scored both Cain and Robles to cut the GreenJackets deficit to two.
But even with what seemed to be a late rally, the GreenJackets couldn't continue their momentum into the ninth as they stranded four runners in the final two innings.
Augusta is now 6 ½ games behind the first place Lexington Legends. The GreenJackets will start Game 2 of their three game series against the Braves tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.
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