'Birds' Late Lead Evaporates in Ten
COLUMBIA, SC - The Columbia Fireflies overcame a five-run hole and won it in the 10th inning on a walkoff bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, upending the Delmarva Shorebirds 9-8 on Tuesday night at Spirit Communications Park.
With the Shorebirds (25-13) up 8-6 in the bottom of the 10th, Giovanny Alfonzo led off with a double that scored free runner Edgardo Fermin from second. Hansel Moreno followed with a soft single to center and advanced to second after a throw home designed to keep Alfonzo at third. Raphael Gladu then took an intentional walk, and Blake Tiberi skyed one to center for a sac fly, scoring Alfonzo to tie the game at 8-8. After another intentional walk, Scott Manea took a 1-0 pitch off the left shoulder, forcing in the winning run.
Stephen Villines (2-3) scooped up the win for the Fireflies (20-18) by pitching the ninth and 10th innings; he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. Reed Hayes (0-2) took the loss for the Shorebirds, giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits in 1.2 frames.
Delmarva once again established control early. Kirvin Moesquit doubled on the first pitch of the game and came in with the opening run on a Mason McCoy single and throwing error. In the second, Ryan Ripken turned on a high fastball and deposited it in the right field grass for a solo home run, his first of the season, to make it 2-0.
Columbia got one back in the second on a bases-loaded sac fly, but Shorebird starter Zac Lowther limited the damage to that. Lowther, who made his first start in 17 days, slogged through 60 pitches in three innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking three and striking out two.
The Shorebirds bolstered the lead in the fourth on a two-run double by Ben Breazeale and RBI base knock by Moesquit. Seamus Curran went yard in the fifth for a solo shot that put Delmarva on top 6-1.
The Fireflies got two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings. Blake Tiberi doubled home a run and scored on two wild pitches in the fifth. In the sixth, Fermin led off with a single and got to third on a pair of wild pitches, After a flyout, walk, and strikeout, Tibieri again came through with an RBI single to score Fermin and make it 6-4.
WIth men on the corners and two out, Columbia tried the "Little League double steal" - Tiberi broke for second but Breazeale pump-faked to the bag, setting up Moreno in a pickle between third and home. Curran missed the catch on a throw home, though, and Moreno slid in safely to get the Fireflies back within 6-5.
In the eighth, Alfonzo legged out an infield hit and got to second on an error. On the 10th pitch of a two-out showdown, Gladu dropped a single into center, bringing Alfonzo around to tie it at 6-6.
Delmarva rebounded to take the lead in the top of the 10th. With Curran starting at second base, Max Hogan beat out a one-out infield single. Ryan Ripken then rolled one up the middle for a base hit to score Curran and put Hogan at third.
The Shorebirds tried their own men-on-the-corners double steal, but Hogan was thrown out at the plate as Ripken advanced to second. Jean Carrillo came up next and slashed one into right for a base hit, and Ripken snuck his toe in ahead of the tag to put the Shorebirds up 8-6, setting up the dramatic bottom of the 10th.
Ripken finished the day 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs, and three runs scored. Hogan went 3-for-4 with a double and run for his first multi-hit game as a Shorebird. Curran's solo homer in the fifth was his seventh of the season, tying Zach Jarrett for the team lead.
Tiberi led the way at the plate for the Fireflies, going 2-for-3 with a double, run, and three RBIs. Gladu drove in a pair of runs, while Alfonzo notched three hits, an RBI, and two runs scored.
Columbia starter Marcel Renteria lasted just 4.1 innings, absorbing six runs (five earned) on eight hits.
The loss was the second extra-inning defeat in three days for Delmarva. It also became the team's longest game of the season at 3:44.
The Shorebirds and Fireflies split a remarkably close four-game series in which all four games were decided by one run. The teams will meet again for four games on August 10-13 in Columbia.
After an idle Wednesday, the Shorebirds open up a quick four-game homestand on Thursday against the Hagerstown Suns. Cameron Bishop (3-2, 2.19) will start the opener for Delmarva against a Suns starter to be determined. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and gates open at 6:00. The first 1,000 fans through the gates at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on Thursday night will receive a pink Shorebirds hat, presented by Spicer Bros. Construction, Inc. in conjunction with Women Supporting Women. Thursday night is also a Maryland Pride Thursday and Kiss 95.9 Thirsty Thursday. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 with Will DeBoer and new co-commentator Drew Williams on the call.
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