Fireflies edged by Rome on the road

ROME, GA – Raphael Gladu has been arguably the best hitter in the South Atlantic League since May 9. That’s when the outfielder’s hit streak began. Gladu stretched it to 18 straight games with a pair of doubles on Saturday in Columbia’s 3-1 loss to Rome at State Mutual Stadium. Gladu is hitting .385 during the 18-game hit streak, which is now the longest in the South Atlantic League this season.

In fact, Gladu’s hit streak is the fourth-longest active streak in all of professional baseball (MLB and MiLB). The Canadian’s doubles occurred in the second and eighth frames on Saturday. He’s been a model of consistency putting the ball into play: the lefty has struck out just eight times over the last 18 games.

David Peterson (L, 1-4) was brilliant again for Columbia (28-25) on the mound, but did not receive the run support to win. The 2017 first round draft choice of the Mets pitched seven strong innings and surrendered just two runs while striking out eight. The southpaw did not walk a single batter again. Peterson has not allowed a free pass over his last 23.2 IP (which stretches five starts).

It was the home team that jumped ahead immediately. In the first inning, Blake Tiberi started the hit parade with a line drive into right field. Two batters later, Jeremy Vasquez rocked a base hit off of Rome (33-22) starter Bruce Zimmerman (W, 7-2) and Tiberi whizzed to third. He wouldn’t sit there long: Wuilmer Becerra drove him in with a single of his own and Columbia was ahead, 1-0.

Jean Carlos Encarnacion’s triple in the second inning quickly erased the lead. He sat at third for only a few moments before Drew Lugbauer knocked his teammate in with a groundball sharply struck to Columbia’s shortstop Hansel Moreno. The Fireflies traded the out for the run.

The game remained tied into the sixth. In the home half, Rome used three pesky singles to take a 2-1 advantage. It was the third of the frame, off Encarnacion’s bat, that drove in Riley Delgado. The Braves added an insurance run in the eighth to pull in front, 3-1, for good.

Sunday is the finale between the Fireflies and Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 ET at State Mutual Stadium and lefty Jake Simon (0-3, 3.71) is slotted to start for Columbia. He’ll face the Braves’ righty Odalvi Javier (2-2, 4.28).

You can listen to the action on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 1:45 p.m.

Story by: Columbia Fireflies

Categories: Local Sports, Sports