Columbia Pulls Away Late for 8-4 Victory Against RiverDogs
Charleston, SC - The Columbia Fireflies scored five runs over the final two innings to break open a tie game on the way to an 8-4 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs in front of 5,336 fans on Friday night at Joseph P. Riley, Park. The RiverDogs committed three errors and struck out 15 times in defeat.
Columbia (44-50) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Tyler Tolbert singled and proceeded to steal second and third base to put himself in scoring position. With two outs, Saul Garza drove him in with an infield single and another run scored on a throwing error by third baseman Abiezel Ramirez on Herard Gonzalez’s groundball. The lead grew to 3-0 with Tolbert’s solo home run in the top of the sixth.
Limited to just one hit by Rylan Kaufman through the first five innings, the RiverDogs (66-28) finally broke free in the bottom of the sixth. Tanner Murray reached on an infield single and Diego Infante followed with a double to chase Kaufman. Columbia brought Kipp Rollings into the game and the right-hander struck out Patrick Merino looking on a 3-2 fastball for the second out. However, Beau Brundage came through with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 3-2. Abiezel Ramirez extended the frame by beating out an infield single and then stole second base, forcing a throwing error from catcher Saul Garza that brought in the tying run.
The score remained even into the eighth inning. Steffon Moore retired the first two batters in the top half of the frame before hitting Garza with a breaking ball. A passed ball moved the runner into scoring position, allowing Garza to score on Gonzalez’s bouncer up the middle that caromed off of the second base bag and passed Johan Lopez for a base hit.
Leading by one in the final inning, the Fireflies scored four runs against Hector Figueroa with four hits, three of them of the extra-base variety. Juan Carlos Negret blasted a three-run home run, his 20th of the season, during the rally. Lopez hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to reach the final score of 8-4.
Luis Moncada worked 5.0 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits. He whiffed eight Columbia hitters. Neraldo Catlalina gave up one run in 2.0 innings on the hill. Moore surrendered one run in his lone inning of work and Figueroa allowed four runs, three earned, in his stanza on the mound.
Tolbert and Garza each collected three hits to guide the Fireflies 13-hit effort. Alika Williams beat out an infield single with two outs in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.
On Opera Night at the Joe, the Holy City Arts and Lyric Opera joined the RiverDogs in centertaining those in attendance. Members of the opera sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America” while also participating in several contests between innings. The post-game fireworks show was also set to a mix of opera music.