Fireflies split doubleheader with Tourists Thursday night
COLUMBIA, SC – Columbia split its doubleheader against the Asheville Tourists on Thursday after starter Anthony Kay led the Fireflies to a 4-2 victory in the night cap. Game one was a tight one that lasted into extras, but, alas, it was Asheville that came out on top, 5-3, in nine innings.
Anthony Kay (W, 4-4) was flat out superb on Thursday night. The lefty nearly went the distance, but still struck out a career-high 11 batters in 6.2 IP. Kay did not walk anyone and scattered just four hits. After Kay hit his pitch limit, Trey Cobb (S, 9) recorded the final out of the game and picked up his team-best ninth save of the season.
Ali Sanchez delivered the home team an early lead with a two-run home run in the first inning off of Antonio Santos (L, 1-10). The blast was Sanchez’s fourth of the year.
Columbia (4-3, 38-36) pulled ahead 3-0 the following frame. After a one-out double from Raphael Gladu, Giovanny Alfonzo slashed an RBI base hit down the left-field line.
Alfonzo later scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to help Columbia distance itself from the Tourists. Asheville (4-2, 31-44) did score twice in the seventh, but the feeble rally ended prematurely.
Alfonzo finished with a pair of hits in game two and Blake Tiberi tallied three hits over the course of both games.
The Fireflies took a 2-0 lead in the third inning against Tourists starter Will Gaddis. Blake Tiberi drilled a two-run single with two outs in the frame that put the home team ahead.
Later in the fifth, the visitors evened the score with a pair of homers. Ramon Marcelino and Casey Golden both went yard to begin the inning. Those were the only two blemishes onChris Viall’s stat line on Thursday – the righty starter lasted a season-long six innings and struck out six.
The game remained tied after seven innings and then again after each team scratched a run across in the eighth. After the Tourists took a 3-2 advantage with a score in the top half, it was Tiberi again who delivered a two-out run-scoring single that tied the score.
Columbia fell behind, though, 5-3 in the ninth and could not score in the home half of the frame.
STREAK ALERT: Edgardo Fermin singled in both games and extended his season-best hit streak to 11 straight games.
The Fireflies and the Tourists finish the three-game series with a winner-take all battle on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET at Spirit Communications Park. Right-hander Tony Dibrell (3-3, 3.51) is expected to toe the rubber for Columbia and face Asheville southpaw Lucas Gilbreath (4-4, 5.92).
NEXT GAME INFO: Friday, June 29, Spirit Communications Park, 7:05 ET … WATCH: MiLB.TV … LISTEN: FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com, TuneIn Radio app