Fireflies’ Bullpen Stellar in 6-2 Win Over Myrtle Beach
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The bats got going early and the bullpen slammed the door shut as Marlin Willis and Cruz Noriega allowed just two singles across five innings in Columbia’s 6-2 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Friday night at Segra Park.
Noriega (W, 3-1) spun three perfect innings, striking out a trio of Pelicans (19-25) after getting the ball from Brooks Conrad. Noriega was particularly accurate on the night, throwing 31 of his 37 pitches for strikes. Marlin Willis kept the ball rolling for the bullpen, allowing only two hits in two scoreless innings to close out the game for the Fireflies (24-18).
After trading runs with Myrtle Beach in the bottom of the first and top of the second, the Fireflies edged ahead in for the final half of the second. Gage Hughes started off the frame with a one out single. The shortstop stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error from the catcher Pablo Aliendo before Maikel Garcia sliced a single up the middle to score Hughes and give Columbia a 3-2 lead. Then Garcia stole his 14th base of the season to put himself in scoring position for Herard Gonzalez, who hit the Fireflies lone extra-base hit of the evening, a double to push the lead to 4-2.
For a second consecutive evening, Kale Emshoff started off the scoring for the Fireflies. After Richard Gallardo (L, 1-3) recorded the first two outs, Darryl Collins drew a walk. After that, an Emshoff base knock in the right-center alley that allowed Collins to motor home from first and break the scoreless tie. Brady McConnell kept the two out magic going with a base hit to score Emshoff, who advanced on an error, from second, giving Columbia a 2-0 lead going into the second frame.
The Fireflies tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fifth and sixth to put them up 6-2.
The Fireflies continue their series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans tomorrow at 6:35 pm at Segra Park. RHP Matt Stil (2-1, 6.75 ERA) gets the start for Columbia and righty Manuel Espinoza (2-4, 4.22 ERA) toes the rubber for the Pelicans.