Fireflies beat Augusta, 4-2 on opening night
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COLUMBIA, SC – Manager Pedro Lopez had high hopes for his pitching staff in 2018 and on opening night, Tony Dibrell delivered in his first professional start. The right-hander struck out six and allowed just one hit in four innings of work on Thursday and Columbia downed the GreenJackets, 4-2. The Fireflies are now 3-0 in home openers (4-1 W v. Greenville on 4/14/16 and 14-7 W v. Augusta on 4/6/17).
Columbia never trailed in a game it owned momentum from first pitch. After Dibrell hurled a scoreless top of the first, Fireflies second baseman Blake Tiberi got right to work in the bottom half. Tiberi roped a double down the left-field line and scored later in the inning on Quinn Brodey’s base hit.
The Fireflies doubled their lead to 2-0 in the fourth. Scott Manea lasered a one-out double to the gap in right-center and then tagged and took third when Walter Rasquin flew out to center field. With Manea sitting at third, Edgardo Fermin crushed a run-scoring triple.
Dibrell ran into a tad bit of trouble in the top of the fifth. The first three batters he faced reached and Conner O’Neil was summoned from the bullpen. After a strikeout and a double play, the Fireflies were out of the pickle. O’Neil next worked a one-two-three top of the sixth (which featured a pair of strikeouts).
After Jeffry Para knocked in a run in the seventh to put Augusta on the board, Columbia answered right back. Tiberi blasted a solo home run off of Eduardo Rivera to put the home team ahead, 3-1. That wasn’t all. Matt Winaker walked and came all the way home to score the Fireflies’ fourth run on Jeremy Vasquez’s double.
Tiberi had quite the season opener, finishing with three hits and scoring twice.
In addition to Dibrell and O’Neil, Stephen Villines and Trey Cobb were sharp out of the Fireflies bullpen as well. Cobb picked up the save in the ninth.
Columbia and Augusta continue their four-game series on Friday night at Spirit Communications Park at 7:05 p.m. Two Floridian right-handers, Joe Cavallaro (COL) and Garrett Cave (AUG) are scheduled to start for their respective clubs.
The action is available on MiLB.TV and FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM beginning at 6:45 p.m.