Piper Homers Late, Bootleggers Top Braves 3-2

Bowling Green, Kentucky – Kenny Piper’s eighth inning go-ahead home run boosted the Bowling Green Bootleggers (4-0) to a 3-2 win over the Rome Braves (2-3) on Thursday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.

Bowling Green scored their first run in the bottom of the third off Rome starter Luis Mejia. Nick Schnell and Gionti Turner worked back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second. Willy Vasquez doubled left, scoring Schnell from second, to give the Bootleggers a 1-0 lead.

Geraldo Quintero got the Rome offense going with a single off Bowling Green starter J.J. Goss in the top of the fourth. He scored a batter later on a two-run homer from Bryson Horne to make it a 2-1 Braves advantage. In the bottom half of the inning, Dru Baker and Jerffry Parra began the frame with a pair of singles. With Baker at third, Oniell Manzueta hit a sacrifice fly to center and allowed Baker to tag up and tie the game, 2-2.

With the game still knotted up at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning with Braves reliever Brent Burgess on the mound, Piper broke the tie on a solo home run over the left field wall. Kyle Whitten held off the Braves lineup in the ninth to aid the Bootleggers to a 3-2 win.

Graeme Stinson (1-0) got the win while tossing 2.0 scoreless innings on two hits, six strikeouts, and three walks. Burgess (0-1) picked up the loss, surrendering one run on one hit, striking out four and walking two over 2.0 innings. Whitten gave up one hit, but held the Braves to no runs in a scoreless ninth inning to notch his first save of the season.

Bowling Green and Rome play the fourth game of a six-game on Friday with first pitch set for 6:35 PM CT. The Hot Rods will send RHP Ben Peoples (0-0, 0.00) to the bump against Braves RHP J.J. Niekro (0-0, 4.91).