The Rome Braves held off the Greenville Drive 3-1 in the opening of 2023 South Atlantic League play behind five strong innings from starter Ian Mejia who recorded the win while allowing only one earned run on three hits as Drive hitting was largely kept at bay. 

The lone Greenville Drive (0-1) run came in the top of the first, produced by shortstop Marcelo Mayer whose liner to right field found its way past Braves’ right fielder Brandol Mezquita for a triple; scoring second baseman Chase Meidroth. 

The difference maker would prove to be the Braves’ Ignacio Alvarez who contributed all three of the team’s RBIs including the eventual-winning runs on a one-out double in the bottom of the fifth off of Drive reliever, Jordan DiValerio, which scored Keshawn Ogans and Drake Baldwin.  

Alvarez’s first RBI of the game knotted the game at one run a piece in the bottom of the first as his grounder to short was enough to plate Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. 

DiValerio would record the loss on the night going 1.1 innings allowing two runs on one hit while tallying two strikeouts and a walk.  

The Drive would threaten the Braves’ lead twice more stranding a pair in the sixth before getting two aboard with no outs in the top of the ninth. All three potential go-ahead runs in the ninth, Max Ferguson, Gilberto Jimenez and Miguel Ugueto would fail to advance the runners as Ferguson struck out, Jimenez flew out to left and Ugueto grounded out to first to end the game. 

Drive starter Wikelman Gonzalez, faced 16 batters in his season debut, lasting 3.2 innings and relinquishing only one earned on one hit while striking out five and walking four. Christopher Troye, Alex Hoppe, and Jaret Godman also came on in relief for the Drive.  

Meidroth provided much of the Drive offensive opportunities tonight in his three at-bats, chipping in three singles and walking once.   

Tyler Owens picked up the save for Rome. 

The Greenville Drive are back in action tomorrow night as they take on Rome in game two of the three-game opening weekend series. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. at AdventHealth Stadium.