Photo courtesy Lakewood BlueClaws

The Rome Braves beat the Lakewood BlueClaws 2-0 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the SALCS

After winning the series opener, the Lakewood BlueClaws have now dropped two straight games to the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League Championship Series. Alberto Tirado was a tough luck loser in Thursday's game three.

Kolby Allard threw six scoreless innings and struck out nine, while two fourth-inning Rome runs held up as the Braves took a 2-1 series lead with a 2-0 win over the BlueClaws on Thursday at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.

With the win, Rome can clinch the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship Series with a victory in Game Four on Friday night.

Allard, the 14th overall pick in last year's draft, fanned nine and twice struck out Wilson Garcia with two runners on base to end innings.

Rome opened the scoring in the fourth when Austin Riley took Alberto Tirado deep on an 0-2 pitch for a 1-0 Braves lead. Riley, who hit 20 home runs during the regular season, has homered in back-to-back games in this series. After Riley's home run, the Braves added three more hits in the inning, including an RBI single by Carlos Castro for a 2-0 lead.

Tirado (0-1) came out after five innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Jacob WaguespackZach Morris and Sutter McLoughlin combined for four scoreless innings in relief.

In the eighth inning, Lakewood had two on with nobody out against Chase Johnson-Mullins, but Garcia bunted into a double-play and Jan Hernandez struck out looking to end the inning.

Devon Watts got his third save of the post-season with a scoreless ninth to bring the Braves within one win of their first league title since 2003.

The BlueClaws will now have to win both Games Four and Five on Friday and Saturday to earn their fourth league championship.

Game Four on Friday at FirstEnergy Park features right-hander Harold Arauz, who will be making his first post-season appearance for the BlueClaws against left-hander Max Fried (1-0) for Rome.

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