Fireflies Rally To Win 13-9 At Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. (Fireflies) — Thursday night’s game against the Greenville Drive was a slugfest, featuring 22 combined runs and 31 hits. But it was Columbia that used a five-run ninth inning to erase a deficit and prevail, 13-9, at Fluor Field. The Fireflies recorded a season-high 20 hits — seven of those extra-base hits.
Columbia (8-7) — which had led most of the night — found itself trailing 9-8 heading to the ninth inning at “Little Fenway.” Drive reliever Austin Glorius (L, 1-1) had pitched three scoreless innings but was asked to return for the ninth because Greenville’s bullpen was taxed the day before after a 17-inning loss to Hickory.
The Fireflies promptly smacked six straight base hits before an out was recorded, scored five runs and pulled ahead. Ivan Wilson started the frame off with a screaming double to straightaway centerfield. Vinny Sienna and David Thompson drove in a pair of runs and two Greenville (9-6) mistakes — an error and a wild pitch — enabled the remaining three to score.
Thompson and Siena were nearly unstoppable. Both finished 4-for-5, and totaled five runs, four doubles and five RBIs combined. Thompson is first in the South Atlantic League with 16 RBIs and Siena is second in the league in on-base percentage (.492).
Alex Palsha (W, 1-1) not only shut the door in the bottom of the ninth, the right-hander blanked the Drive the final 2.2 innings, striking out five batters. Palsha has the highest strikeout ratio in the league (16.2 per nine innings).
Ironically enough, both starting pitchers — Thomas McIlraith and Daniel Gonzalez — cruised through one-two-three half-innings in the first. Then the scoring started when Thompson and Dash Winningham laced back-to-back base hits in the second frame. With the table set, Jeff Diehl and Tyler Moore drove in their teammates to put Columbia in front, 2-0.
Greenville, though, tied the score in the home half of the inning. This was the beginning of a trend that stretched three frames. The Fireflies added two runs each in the third and fourth innings, only to see the lead evaporate in the bottom of the fourth. Kyri Washington’s three-run home run tied the game at 6-6.
Thompson and Winningham responded by knocking in runs in the fifth to help Columbia retake an 8-6 lead.
After Christian Montgomery tossed two scoreless innings of relief, the righty from Indianapolis ran into some trouble in the seventh. An error, a walk and a botched double play led to three runs – just one earned – and the Drive took a one-run lead.
Five different Fireflies finished with multi-hit games, including Wilson (3-for-4). All three hits were extra-base hits, including his first home run of the season.
The in-state rivals are back at it on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The Fireflies turn to southpaw Kevin Canelon (0-1, 5.00) to face righty Marc Brakeman (0-0, 4.50) at Flour Field.
You can listen to the action on WGCV 620 AM and 105.1 FM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 7:00 p.m.