4/26/18

Columbia 6 - Charleston 5

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CHARLESTON, SC – Jeremy Vasquez had one of his finest days at the plate this season. And delivered when his team needed it the most on Wednesday. The Fireflies first baseman mashed a home run and a triple at Joe Riley Park and willed Columbia to a 6-5 win over Charleston in 10 innings. Vasquez’s franchise-record on-base streak now stretches to 19 straight games to begin the year. 

Columbia (12-8) erased a two-run deficit in the eighth inning to tie the score at 4-4 and later forced the game into extra innings. In the top of the tenth – with a runner (Blake Tiberi) placed at second base as per the new Minor League Baseball regulations – Vasquez roped an RBI triple to the wall in right-center field. The Fireflies weren’t done. Two batters later, Rigoberto Terrazas bounced a pitch towards shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera. The Charleston (9-11) infielder threw wide to first and pulled the first baseman off the bag. Terrazas was safe and the error allowed the visitors to pull ahead 6-4.

Columbia would need it. Jason Lopez singled home a runner to slice the deficit in half in the home half of the 10th. Even with the bags full, Trey Cobb (S, 3) retired three straight RiverDogs to secure not only his third save (in three tries) but clinch the comeback for the Fireflies. It was the third time this season that Columbia came back and won after trailing at the start of the eighth inning.

Columbia saved its best for the late innings, especially in the top of the eighth (while trailing 4-2). First, Matt Winaker put the ball in play and reached on a fielders choice. Then Vasquez walked. With two aboard, Quinn Brodey ripped his second extra-base hit of the night – this time a double down the right-field line – and scored two to tie the game.  

Brodey initially scorched a triple in the top of the second, the Fireflies’ SAL-leading 14th three-bagger. He scored moments later on an error and Columbia answered Charleston’s first-inning run. The RiverDogs would score immediately in the bottom of the second. Lopez bashed a base hit and brought Leonardo Molina home from second base.

Vasquez then vaulted his second home run of the season in the fourth inning – an opposite-field blast over the left-field wall. The 2-2 tie was also short-lived and the home team took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Charleston then pulled ahead 4-2 when Steven Sensley plated Cabrera with a single in the seventh.

Columbia has yet to lose a series this season and can split the four-game set with Charleston with a win on Thursday. First pitch at Joe Riley Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Right-handerTony Dibrell is expected to start for the Fireflies and face RiverDogs southpaw J.P. Sears.

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