WATCH: Fireflies rally to beat Power late Tuesday night
COLUMBIA, SC – Fortunately for the Fireflies, 19-year-old Edgardo Fermin strolled to the plate in the two most tense moments in Tuesday’s game against West Virginia. The shortstop delivered twice. Fermin homered to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth and then whacked the game-winning base hit in the bottom of the ninth that propelled Columbia to a 5-4 victory. The Fireflies walked off for the fifth time in three weeks and snapped a three-game losing skid with the win Tuesday.
The Fireflies had just cut into a 3-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. The following frame, Fermin led off against Power reliever Blake Cederlind. Fermin launched a curveball deep into left that sailed over the wall, his third homer of the year.
Fermin and the Fireflies quickly fell behind again in the top of the ninth, though. Mason Martin singled for West Virginia (24-18) and was soon pinch-run for by Ryan Peurifoy. The runner darted almost immediately to third base after Fireflies reliever Conner O’Neil (W, 3-0) threw wide of first base attempting to pick the runner off. Kyle Watson drove in his teammate moments later with a base hit to left.
Columbia (23-21) refused to crumble and the club punched back again in the home half of the frame. First, Power manager Wyatt Toregas called upon lefty Ike Schlabach (L, 2-1) out of the pen. Schlabach first allowed a base hit to Matt Winaker. Rigoberto Terrazas was the next batter and came up clutch with a sacrifice bunt (on an 0-2 count) that pushed Winaker into scoring position. Scott Manea singled and runners were at the corners for Hansel Moreno. The 22-year-old infielder drilled a run-scoring base hit into left-center which brought home Winaker and tied the game. It was Moreno’s first hit of the evening.
So Manea sat at second base as Fermin stepped back up to the plate. With the count full, Schlabach hurled home and Fermin smoked a base hit into shallow center field. Manea swung around third as Lolo Sanchez gathered in center. His throw was wide of home and Manea slide in safe.
Fermin – who finished with three hits – was soon mobbed by his teammates behind second base. Columbia found itself in another heart-thumper: nine of the last 10 games the club has played in have been decided by two runs or fewer. Better yet, 16 of Columbia’s 20 games in May have been decided by three runs or fewer.
The Fireflies won in dramatic fashion on Tuesday after falling in game one of the series to West Virginia in 11 innings.
The Power built a 3-0 lead in the third and fourth innings before the home team sliced into the deficit in the seventh. Manea delivered a two-run double that brought Columbia back within a run. The Fireflies scored all five of its runs in the final three innings.
In addition to Fermin, Winaker (2-for-3, 2 R, BB) and Manea (3-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI) each finished with multi-hit games.
Yeizo Campos also pitched 4.1 effective innings out of the bullpen, surrendering just two hits and striking out five.
Columbia and West Virginia turn around quickly and meet at 11:05 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning at Spirit Communications Park. Right-hander Tony Dibrell (1-2, 3.92) is scheduled to start his eighth game of the season for Columbia and toe the rubber against Power righty Gavin Wallace (3-0, 4.01). 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 10:45 a.m.
Story by: Columbia Fireflies