Tourists top Fireflies to claim series Friday
COLUMBIA, SC – The Fireflies’ rally fell short on Friday night at Spirit Communications Park. Columbia had runners at second and third in the bottom of the 10th, but stranded both and dropped the series finale 5-3 to the Tourists. Asheville claims this three-game set, taking two out of the three over a two-day span.
The two clubs entered extras, 2-2, and Asheville immediately plated three runs in the top of the 10th. The bottom of the 10th inning started with Gio Alfonzo at second base, per MiLB extra inning rules. After Hansel Moreno struck out, Tourists reliever Braxton Lorenzini walked back-to-back batters (Raphael Gladu and Blake Tiberi) and the Fireflies had the bases loaded with one out. Lorenzini’s control continued to haunt him – the righty threw a wild pitch to the net behind home plate and Alfonzo scored. The home team trailed 5-3, but Lorenzini settled down and punched out the final two batters to close the game.
Trailing 2-0 into the eighth, the Fireflies’ offense woke up. Moreno led off the frame with a single. The next batter, Gladu, also knocked a base hit into the outfield and Moreno advanced to third on the play. Matt Winaker put Columbia on the board and drove in Moreno with an RBI groundout. The Fireflies tied the game, 2-2, when Vasquez’s single plated Gladu.
Tony Dibrell and Conner O’Neil were impressive on the mound for the Fireflies. Dibrell, who made his 13th start of the season, struck out seven batters in six innings. The righty stranded two runners on base in three of his six frames. Meanwhile, O’Neil logged two scoreless innings and registered four strikeouts out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old has not allowed a run in his previous five outings.
Columbia had a couple of chances earlier in the game to score. A fifth-inning spark was halted when Quinn Brodey tried to stretch a double into a triple. Brodey was thrown out at third base on a questionable call for the first out of that frame. Winaker and Vasquez each singled with two outs in the sixth, but both were stranded on the base paths.
The Fireflies begin a four-game series on the road against the Augusta GreenJackets on Saturday night. Game one at SRP Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and righty Joe Cavallaro (7-2, 2.02) takes the ball for Columbia. You can listen to the game live starting at 6:45 p.m. on FOX SPORTS Radio 1400 or online at columbiafireflies.com.