Columbia 9 -- Lakewoord 7


Press Release:

COLUMBIA, SC – Giovanny Alfonzo had played 140 games in affiliated baseball without belting a grand slam. That changed on Saturday night. Down 7-3 to Lakewood in the eighth, Alfonzo blasted a rocket over the left-field wall to tie the score at 7-7. Just minutes later, Quinn Brodey smoked a two-run homer to give the home team a lead it would not relinquish. The Fireflies burned the BlueClaws, 9-7, at Spirit Communications Park, the club’s fourth straight win. An incensed crowd of 4,923 witnessed Columbia erase a five-run deficit and win for just the second time in franchise history.
It did, in fact, tie for the largest come-from-behind victory in franchise history. Columbia (16-13) defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators on August 28, 2016 after at one point trailing 5-0, but that tilt in no way matched the intensity and drama that unfolded on Saturday. The Fireflies had just fallen behind 7-2 after Lakewood (15-14) posted five runs in the top of the seventh.

The home team quickly cut into the margin in the bottom half of the frame. Alfonzo started the inning with a single and soon after moved to third. He tagged and scored on Brodey’s deep drive to right field that was reeled in by Danny Mayer. Columbia then entered the eighth trailing, 7-3.

Reliever Connor O’Neil (W, 2-0) hurled a one-two-three top of the eighth before the Fireflies began their gigantic rally. BlueClaws manager Marty Molloy called on Luis Ramirez (L, 0-4) out of the bullpen only to watch the righty open the frame by walkingMatt WinakerRigoberto Terrazas then singled and Scott Manea was plunked on the left elbow to load the bases. Alfonzo stepped to the dish next.
The 25-year-old drilled the first grand slam hit by a Firefly at Spirit Communications Park just over the left-field fence to tie the game. That blast proved to be just the first course of the feast in the eighth.

Ramirez next struck out Hansel Moreno but then walked Blake Tiberi. Lakewood brought reliable righty reliever  Addison Russ out of the bullpen. The first batter he faced – Brodey – took him deep. Brodey had flown out to the warning track in right field three times on Saturday before his two-run drive off of Russ in the eighth. The home run was Brodey’s fourth of the year and put the home team ahead, 9-7.

The last three nights, Columbia has trailed in the seventh, eighth and eighth innings respectively. The club came back and won them all. Saturday’s game continues quite the trend: 10 of the Fireflies’ last 12 games have been decided by two runs or fewer.

The game was a see-saw battle in the early innings. Jake Scheiner smoked a lead-off homer for the visitors to begin the game in the first. Columbia tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second. Ali Sanchez led off with a double and raced to third when Winaker singled. Terrazas plated Sanchez after bouncing a grounder up the first-base line.

A similar script played out a few innings later. Mayer started the fifth inning with a solo home run, giving the BlueClaws a 2-1 advantage. The game was tied once again after the sixth. In that frame, Winaker ripped one of his three base hits of the evening into centerfield which scored Jeremy Vasquez.

The Fireflies matched their season-high with nine runs on Saturday and smacked 15 hits (one off the season-high). Tiberi, Vasquez, Winaker, Terrazas and Alfonzo all tallied multi-hit games. Vasquez recorded three singles and  extended his franchise-record on-base streak to 28 straight games. It’s tied for the second-longest in all of professional baseball behind Phillies All-Star Odubel Herrera (30).

Columbia aims to push its win streak to five in a row on Sunday against Lakewood at 2:05 p.m. The expected starters are righty Chris Viall(1-2, 2.33) for the Fireflies and lefty David Parkinson (2-1, 0.52) for the BlueClaws.


Thomas Brennan said...

Nice Fireflies comeback. Nice to see some hitting.

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