Columbia 5 - Lexington 0


Press Release -  In just its 16th game of the year, Columbia notched its fifth shut-out win, soaring past Lexington on Friday night, 5-0.Merandy Gonzalez was nearly unhittable over seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and scattered three hits en route to his third win of the season. Outfielder Tim Tebow recorded his first multi-hit game (3-for-3, double, walk) of the season as well, in front of a crowd of 5,896 at Spirit Communications Park.

Gonzalez is 3-0 in just three starts. The New York Mets prospect stretched his personal consecutive scoreless inning streak to 20.2. In that span, Gonzalez has allowed just 10 hits, struck out 18 and – amazingly – walked just one batter. The Fireflies are the only team in all of Major and Minor League Baseball with a pair of 3-0 pitchers (Jordan Humphreys) this early in the season.

And it hasn’t just been the tandem of Gonzalez and Humphreys. Columbia pitchers haven’t allowed more than three runs in a game in five straight. Taking it a step further, Fireflies’ hurlers have walked just two hitters over the last 34 innings (four games). Finally, Columbia has allowed the fewest hits in the South Atlantic League (103, 6.5 per game on average).

The home team hit the ball hard at the plate all night, too. The Fireflies totaled 12 hits, one of which coming off of Gene Cone’s (2-for-3, double, walk) bat in the third. Cone whizzed to third after Luis Carpio followed with a single. Michael Paez then knocked them both in with a double down the left-field line. Paez finished with two extra-base hits – the other a triple – a pair of runs scored and those two RBIs. Later that inning, Jose Medina drove home Paez with a single off of Lexington (5-11) starter Nolan Watson (L, 0-3). The Fireflies led 3-0.

The advantage grew two innings later. Paez began the fifth with a triple and scored when Dash Winningham grounded out to the pitcher. Winningham now has a team-best 13 RBIs. Columbia (10-6) added one more insurance run in the eighth. Desmond Lindsay doubled, moved to third base on Tebow’s single and scored when Milton Ramos bounced into a double play. Ramos, though, recorded a hit in his fourth straight game.

Reliever Taylor Henry preserved the shutout with scoreless work in the eighth and ninth frames. Columbia’s fifth shut-out victory in 2016, by the way, occurred on August 11.

On Saturday, Manager Jose Leger sends right-hander Colin Holderman (1-0, 1.13) to the mound to face Legends’ righty Jace Vines (0-2, 4.76) in the third game of the series.


Adam Smith said...

I am loving that Fireflies pitching staff. Health permitting, I'll bet we start seeing them in 2019. I wonder how long they'll keep them all down there this season. If they do for awhile, and Lindsay starts hitting, this is going to be a tough A-ball team to beat. That plus Tebow, and I'd say the Columbia front office is doing a little happy dance these days.

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