For the second straight night, Columbia used some ninth-inning magic to down Greenville., the Fireflies scored two runs in the top of ninth to break a tie and win 5-3 at Fluor Field.
The Fireflies trailed most of the game and headed into the sixth inning down, 2-0. That was when the visitors got to starter Marc Brakeman.Tucker Tharp singled and moved up to second base when Vinny Siena walked. Next, Joe Tuschak’s single loaded the bases and that was enough for Drive Manager Darren Fenster to lift his starter for right-handed reliever Dioscar Romero.
The first batter he faced, David Thompson, smashed a double into the left-centerfield gap that plated two runs to tie the score. Thompson leads the South Atlantic League with 18 RBIs and has driven in at least one run in seven of his last 10 games.
Columbia (9-7) took a brief lead in the top of the seventh when Jeff Diehl scorched his first home run of the season. Greenville (9-7), though, evened it up in the bottom half of the frame after Joseph Monge singled in Kyri Washington.
The table was set for an exciting finish. Dash Winningham singled off of Jeffry Fernandez (L, 0-1) to start the ninth. Vicente Lupo was then inserted into the game as a pinch-runner, representing the go-ahead run. Diehl walked and with runners at first and second, Manager Jose Leger called for the bunt with Natanael Ramos stepping to the plate. The bunt was placed down successfully back to the pitcher’s mound, but Fernandez’s throw was heaved wide of the first-base bag and rolled up the chalk. That enabled Lupo to score and pushed Diehl to third base. The next batter, Milton Ramos, provided the insurance, slicing a base hit up the middle that plated Diehl.
Tyler Bashlor shut down the Drive in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the victory. Johnny Magliozzi (W, 1-0) — who pitched the seventh and eighth innings — picked up his first win of the year.
Starter Kevin Canelon was solid as well. The crafty lefty struck out six batters over six innings, surrendering just two runs.
Columbia tests its three game win streak against Greenville againnight at Leger calls on right-hander Tyler Badamo (1-1, 5.73) to tangle with Drive righty Anderson Espinoza (1-1, 2.40).