Rasquin leads Fireflies to first walk-off win
COLUMBIA, SC (Fireflies) – With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Walter Rasquin ripped a sharp ground ball up the middle. Hickory second baseman Jonathan Ornelas dove, nabbed the bouncing ball, got up but threw late to first. The single scored Anthony Dirocie and the celebration ensued. Columbia walked off for the first time this season and defeated the Llamas, 4-3.
The Fireflies entered the ninth down a run, too, making Thursday’s win that much more impressive. Hickory (10-4) reliever Scott Engler (L, 1-1) retired the first two he faced in the ninth before Wagner Lagrange sparked the rally with a base hit. Dirocie then pushed the pinch runner, Chandler Avant, over to third with a base hit of his own. Then it was Bradley Marquez’s turn. Facing a two-strike pitch, Marquez bashed a single into center field that scored Avant to tie the game.
Hickory elected to walk the red-hot Ronny Mauricio to load the bases for Rasquin. The Venezuelan infielder was soon mobbed by his teammates between first and second after his walk-off single. The Fireflies have now won four of their last five.
A energetic crowd of 4,818 made it out to Segra Park to watch Columbia’s (7-7) thrilling win. Lagrange and Marquez each wound up with a pair of hits.
Jose Moreno (W, 1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the game tied. Moreno, Darwin Ramos and Billy Oxford combined to shut the Llamas out from the fifth inning on.