'Birds Outpunch Fireflies to Win
COLUMBIA, SC - The Delmarva Shorebirds rediscovered their offensive mojo, outslugging the Columbia Fireflies 9-7 in Friday night's series opener at Spirit Communications Park.
Luis Perez (3-2) earned his third win for the Shorebirds (23-23, 58-55), giving up five runs (two earned) on four hits in six innings while walking two and striking out four. Yeizo Campos (1-4) got saddled with the loss for the Fireflies (18-28, 52-61), allowing seven runs on six hits in four-plus frames. Diogenes Almengo came in for the seventh and picked up his first hold, and Nick Vespi notched his team-leading sixth save with a scoreless eighth and ninth.
After being shut out for 18 consecutive innings, Delmarva found some instant offense in the first inning off the bat of Zach Jarrett, who smashed a line drive home run down the left field line to put the Shorebirds up 1-0. Columbia answered with a solo blast from Matt Winaker in the bottom of the first, and Zach Rheams put the Fireflies up 2-1 with a home run in the fourth.
Delmarva opened up a conga line against Campos in the top of the fifth. Trevor Craport led off with a walk, then Jean Carrillo and Will Robertson singled to load the bases. Mason McCoy lined a base hit into center to bring home Craport as the tying run, and Cadyn Grenier worked a full count walk to force in Carrillo and put the Shorebirds up 3-2. Jarrett came up next and crushed a line drive to the base of the wall in right center, scoring all three runners on a triple that knocked Campos out of the game. Ryan Ripken rolled a two-out infield single down the third base line three batters later to bring Jarrett home, capping a six-run inning to make it 7-2.
Not to be outdone, the Fireflies took advantage of a break in the bottom of the fifth. Carlos Sanchez hit a two-out grounder to third that Jean Carlos Encarnacion mishandled, then David Miranda singled and Edgardo Fermin walked to load the bases. Hansel Moreno then clubbed a three-run double off the wall in dead center, getting Columbia back within 7-5.
The Shorebirds tacked on one in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded single from Craport but left them loaded after that. The Fireflies peeled off a pair more in their half of the seventh. Sanchez and Miranda belted back-to-back dobules, then after Miranda moved to third on a groundout, he scored on a balk, making it 8-7.
Delmarva got an insurance tally in the ninth inning. Seamus Curran led off with a single, and Ripken walked two batters later. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Craport dropped a soft flyball into left for a base hit. Curran scored, and while Ripken was thrown out trying to come in behind, the Shorebirds took control again at 9-7.
Vespi walked the leadoff man in the ninth but relied on a 4-6-3 double play to relieve the pressure and struck out Miranda to ice it.
Jarrett finished a double shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with a triple, homer, three runs scored, and four RBIs. Craport reached base all five times he came to bat, finishing 3-for-3 with two walks, a run, and two RBIs.
Miranda led the way for the Fireflies from the nine-hole, going 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. Sanchez scored twice right in front of him in the eight slot.
One night after enduring back-to-back shutouts, the Shorebirds pounded out 13 hits. The Fireflies had managed just two runs total in their previous two games; Delmarva and Columbia teamed up to score 16 runs.
The Shorebirds aim to keep momentum rolling against the Fireflies on Saturday night. Cameron Bishop (8-5, 2.90) takes the hill for Delmarva against former Shorebird Luc Rennie (2-1, 1.93) for Columbia. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 5:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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