5/3/18

Columbia 9 - Lexington 1

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Press Release:

COLUMBIA, SC – In front of an energetic crowd of 6,282 fans, the Fireflies pounded the Legends on Wednesday afternoon, 9-1. Columbia snapped its five-game losing streak and climbed back to .500 on the season at 13-13.

Wednesday was the first Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Reading Program Day of the year that allowed thousands of students from 14 different schools in the Midlands to watch the Fireflies in action. It was the highest-attended Reading Program Day in the program’s three-year history.

"In just its third season, our Reading Program has expanded to include 173 schools and nearly 67,000 students," said Fireflies team PresidentJohn Katz. "With the amazing support of our partners at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, and the leadership of our Reading Program Manager Kyle Williamson, we are making a positive impact on kids across the region."

The fans were entertained early: Columbia (13-13) jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning and later scored seven total runs in the fourth and fifth frames. That was plenty of run support for Marcel Renteria (W, 2-1) who didn’t need much of it. The right-hander picked up his second win of the season in his fourth start after he allowed just one run over 7.2 innings, which was the longest a Fireflies hurler has pitched in 2018.

The Fireflies attacked a shaky Collin Snider (L, 1-3) early. The Lexington (13-11) righty first plunked two batters in the opening inning only to watch slugger Jeremy Vasquez scorch a double down the right-field line and plate both. Vasquez’s franchise-record on-base streak was extended once again, and it’s now reached 25 straight games. When it was all said and done, the first baseman reached base three times and raised his league-best on-base percentage to .467.

Snider wobbled through the second and third innings before Columbia’s offense erupted again. Nine hitters came to the plate in the fourth and the home team plated four. Two of which scored on Hansel Moreno’s triple (the infielder collected a pair of hits on Wednesday and has reached safely five times in two starts at Spirit Communications Park). Moreno later scored on Gio Alfonzo’s sacrifice fly. Matt Winaker saved the best for last. The lefty clobbered a solo home run (the first of his professional career) over the right-field wall to give his team a 6-1 cushion.

More was to come in the fifth. Raphael Gladu and Moreno each plated a run with a hit off of Lexington reliever Holden Capps. Gladu later scored the third run of the frame after a wild pitch was heaved to the netting behind the plate. Columbia held a mighty 9-1 advantage after five innings.

Renteria navigated into the eighth inning before finally being relieved by lefty Aaron Ford. The Houston, Texas, native retired all four batters he faced, including M.J. Melendez in the top of the ninth to end the game.

Vasquez wasn’t the only hitter to extend an on-base streak. After walking twice on WednesdayScott Manea has now reached base safely in nine straight and Blake Tiberi (hit by pitch in first inning) has reached base in all 13 home games he’s played in.

Moreno, Winaker, Vasquez and Gladu also all recorded multi-hit games.  

Lexington and Columbia have split the first two games which sets up a winner-takes-the-series matchup on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.Columbia sends right-hander Tony Dibrell (0-1, 6.41) to the mound to face off with Legends southpaw starter Daniel Tillo (0-1, 3.52).

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