Braves legend Murphy visits victorious Fireflies Friday

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Two-time National League MVP and seven-time MLB All-Star Dale Murphy was the guest of honor at Spirit Communications Park Friday night, visiting the Columbia Fireflies before their 9-1 win over Lakewood.

The Braves legend threw out the first pitch and also signed autographs for fans in attendance.

Scott Manea became the first Firefly this season to tally four hits in a game and led the Fireflies to a blowout win over Lakewood on Friday, 9-1. The eight runs tied the largest margin of victory for Columbia this season.

Manea was “un-retirable” on Friday. In addition to the four singles, Manea also walked in the third inning. He reached base safely in all five plate appearances. The last Firefly to record four hits in a game was Luis Carpio on August 6, 2017.

The Fireflies offense as a whole was just as effective. All nine hitters reached base safely and four batters – Jeremy Vasquez, Matt Winaker, Raphael Gladu and Hansel Moreno – each finished with a pair of RBIs. In total, Columbia (1-1, 35-34) recorded 15 hits, two shy of its season high.

Ironically enough, the Fireflies fell behind 1-0 in the first frame. That proved to be the only run starter Tony Dibrell (W, 3-3) would allow in 5.1 innings. The right-hander punched out seven more batters on Friday and lowered his ERA to 3.51 (12 starts).

The home team sprang for two runs in the second. First, Vasquez began the inning with a double against Lakewood (1-1, 42-29) Spencer Howard (L, 3-7) and reached third when right fielder Jhailyn Ortiz fumbled the ball in the corner. Winaker drove his teammate in moments later with a sacrifice fly. Edgardo Fermin would later plate a run in the frame with a well-struck single into left field.

Columbia distanced itself from the BlueClaws after a three-run third. The big hit in the inning came off of Vasquez’s bat when the lefty drove in two with a double. After reaching third base on a wild pitch, it was déjà vu all over again. Winaker, once more, knocked the first baseman in with a sac fly. The Fireflies were ahead, 5-1.

The offense would not stay quiet. Later on, in the sixth inning, Gladu plated a pair of runs with a bases-loaded single and then in the seventh Hansel Moreno made some noise. The lefty jolted a double down the left-field line with the bases full. Two scored, and Pedro Lopez’s club held a 9-1 advantage.

Behind Dibrell, Carlos Hernandez, Trey Cobb and Stephen Villines hurled 3.2 combined shut-out innings and struck out five batters.

NUGGET OF THE NIGHT: For the first time all season, not a single Columbia hitter struck out.

Columbia aims to win the series against Lakewood on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 ET and righty Joe Cavallaro (7-1, 2.06) will toe the rubber for the Fireflies. The BlueClaws will counter with southpaw Damon Jones (5-2, 2.05).

Fireflies media relations contributed to this article.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports