Fireflies edge Charleston, 3-1 behind Joe Cavallaro’s career night

CHARLESTON, SC – Joe Cavallaro had a confidence and swagger on the mound Friday that Charleston’s hitters could not match. The righty fanned a new career-high nine batters and led Columbia to a 3-1 victory. The Fireflies have taken the first two games of the series and won three straight.

Cavallaro is now 5-1 in just seven outings in 2018 after the win on Friday. He scattered those nine strikeouts over seven frames, but still managed to punch out the last four hitters he faced. The 22-year-old’s slider was brilliant and he yielded just four hits and one fourth-inning run. Columbia (22-18) is 6-1 in games Cavallaro pitches in.

The visitors struck first when the bases loaded in the fourth. Jeremy Vasquez and Ali Sanchez slashed back-to-back singles on consecutive pitches, no less. Then after Scott Manea walked, Wuilmer Becerra – added to the roster Friday afternoon – stepped to the plate. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Jio Orozco (L, 0-1), the 6-foot-3 righty smacked a two-run single into centerfield, his second hit of the game.

Becerra was just as effective in right field in the bottom half of the fourth. The 23-year-old made two diving catches, the second to end the frame after Charleston (17-23) had plated a run.

The Fireflies added another score in the fifth. This time, Blake Tiberi singled and whizzed to third on Vasquez’s double down the left-field line. RiverDogs reliever Greg Weissert got a little wild moments later and hurled a pitch to the back stop. The free pass enabled Tiberi to score and give the visiting club a 3-1 edge.

Taylor Henry and Trey Cobb (S, 5) were splendid in the late innings taking over for Cavallaro. Each faced the minimum in their respective innings of work.

Columbia has now played in 21 games decided by two runs or fewer (the club has only played 40).

Columbia continues its series against Charleston on Saturday at 6:05 ET. The expected starters are lefty Anthony Kay (1-1, 4.70) for the Fireflies and righty Alexander Vargas (1-0, 6.48) for the RiverDogs.

You can watch the game on MiLB.TV or listen to the action on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 5:45 p.m.

VIDEO COURTESY: WCIV

Categories: Local Sports, Sports