Fireflies drop season-opener to Riverdogs, 2-1
COLUMBIA, SC – The Fireflies opened the 2019 season in front of an energetic crowd of more than 6,000 on Thursday night. Columbia dropped the opener, though, to Charleston, 2-1, but the 6,325 in attendance were delightfully entertained with a competitive ballgame, dazzling pitching and – what no opening day should be without – postgame fireworks. Thursday’s loss was the first home-opening defeat in the organization’s four years (started 3-0 on opening days).
Columbia pitchers fanned 13 RiverDogs hitters. Mets’ 18-year-old prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson punched out four in 1.2 innings (the starter was held to a 40-pitch limit) before Willy Tavares struck out five over the next 4.1 IP. Tavares allowed just one hit. Later, Darwin Ramos and Ezequiel Zabaleta combined for four punchouts in a combined three scoreless frames.
Charleston’s two early runs proved to be the difference. The visitors twice scored in the second, the second run coming in after Kyle Gray doubled.
The Fireflies responded with their lone score in the fourth. Mark Vientos (pictured / Photo: Tom Priddy) got it started with a sharp single and came all the way home to score on Hayden Senger’sdouble. Senger finished with a pair of hits.
Columbia had the tying run on third base in the bottom of the ninth but could not plate the runner to force extras.
The Fireflies and RiverDogs battle again at Segra Park on Friday at 7:05 ET. In game two of the series, right-hander Jose Butto takes the mound for Columbia and makes his 2019 debut.