But you can bet the Rome Braves didn’t mind traveling to Asheville, N.C.
It was likely a very enjoyable ride for the Braves — and they’re hoping the trip home will be even more fun.
After opening their South Atlantic League Southern Division playoff series with a 5-3 win over the Tourists on Wednesday night, the Braves traveled to Asheville with hopes of earning one more win and moving into the SAL’s championship series.
The Braves, who are in the postseason for the first time since 2006, will face the Tourists in Game 2 of the best-of-three series tonight, with Game 3 (if necessary) slated for Saturday.
“We feel good going into Asheville (with a 1-0 lead),” said Rome pitcher Navery Moore, who tossed six hitless innings and earned the win in the series opener. “ It’s always a better bus ride when you win that first game and heading somewhere else with win under your belt.”
Greg Ross (7-9, 4.60) is scheduled to start for the Braves tonight, and he will be opposed by Asheville ace Tyler Anderson (12-3, 2.47)
Anderson, a lefty, is considered one of the league’s top prospects, and was the 20xth overall pick in last years draft.
Still, the Braves like their chances against the touted pitcher.
“Personally I feel good (facing Anderson),” said Rome center fielder Tony Mueller. “He’s a lefty and I’ve been hitting lefties pretty good this year.”
Mueller said the Braves — who have yet to determine a starting pitcher for the third game — will be riding a wave of confidence as they head into tonight’s game.
“When you’re in a three-game series, it’s big to win that first game,” said Mueller.
The Braves extended the momentum they built during the past two months by winning Wednesday’s game in front of a crowd of 2,586 at State Mutual Stadium.
The Braves owned the league’s worst record before the All-Star break, but then stormed to the Southern Division’s second-half crown by putting together the league’s best record in the final two months of the season.
Now, they are looking to cap off the amazing turnaround — and punctuate their 10 th season in Rome — by claiming their first SAL title since their inaguaral season in Rome in 2003.
But beating Asheville won’t be easy for the Braves, who posted a 8-13 record against the Tourists during the regular season.
In other team news:
In the red: The Braves had a “white-out” during Wednesday’s game, when fans were asked to wear white to SMS. (And a large majority of the fans obliged).
Now, the color scheme is changing.
If the Braves advance to the SAL’s championship series, the club plans to have a “red out” for the first home game of the series on Monday night.
Tickets for Monday’s game are available at the SMS ticket windows and online at romebraves.com.