Fireflies Fall to Braves, 9-7
ROME, GA (Fireflies) – Columbia climbed back from a six-run hole on Sunday only to fall to the Braves, 9-7, in the series finale at State Mutual Stadium. The Fireflies erased a 6-0 deficit with three runs in both the sixth and seventh frames. For a second straight night, though, a late-inning Jared James home run helped Rome to the victory.
Rome’s (23-20, 50-62) first six runs came in the second and third frames. Carlos Castro knocked in two with a double, and the following inning, Austin Riley mimicked his teammate with a two-run two-bagger of his own. Later in the inning, James and Castro again drove in runs, increasing the Braves’ lead to 6-0.
Columbia (15-28, 51-62) fought back in the sixth. Touki Toussaint plunked Enmanuel Zabala and after two wild pitches, Zabala found himself at third. Tucker Tharp then rolled a grounder to third base that Riley booted. That allowed Zabala to score. J.C. Rodriguez bunted Tharp into scoring position and he came home when Eudor Garcia singled. Dash Winningham followed suit with an RBI double. The Fireflies cut the Braves lead in half.
Tyler Moore drew a walk to begin the seventh and moved safely to second base on a fielding error. Zabala bounced a ground ball to Darien McLemore and the second baseman threw wild to the second basebag. After Moore hustled to third on another wild pitch, he tagged and scored thanks to Tharp’s sacrifice fly. Rodriguez continued the visitors’ rally with a walk and Garcia came through again. His double scored two and just like that, Columbia had tied the game up at 6-6.
The following half inning, any momentum the Fireflies had gathered over the previous two frames was squashed when James blasted a three-run home run. Columbia added a run in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t rally any further.
Matt Custred (W, 4-3) picked up the win for the Braves and Craig Missigman (L, 1-3) was dealt the loss for the Fireflies.
Columbia returns home on Monday night to begin a three-game series with the Greenville Drive. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park and right-hander Chase Ingram (6-9, 4.88) toes the rubber against Greenville’s righty Daniel Gonzalez (2-4, 5.12).
You can watch the action on MiLB.TV or listen in on WGCV 620 AM and 96.3 FM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 7:00 p.m.