Columbia Fireflies Game Notes vs Kannapolis
The Fireflies continue their series with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers tonight at Segra Park at 7:05 pm. RHP Luinder Avila (2-3, 3.63 ERA) gets the ball for the Fireflies and Kannapolis counters with southpaw Brooks Gosswein (0-0, 1.13 ERA).
Tonight is the final Trash the Poop Wag-Along Wednesday at Segra Park, where all fans can bring their leashed and rabies vaccinated dog to Segra Park with the purchase of a berm ticket for themselves. It's also a White Claw Wednesday, where fans can enjoy a 16 oz can of White Claw Seltzer for only $5. Tickets are available at FirefliesTickets.com.
NEGRET HOMER NOT ENOUGH TO BEAT KANNAPOLIS: A late homer from Juan Carlos Negret wasn't enough to inspire a rally as the Fireflies fell to the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 6-5 Tuesday night at Segra Park. The Cannon Ballers took the lead in the fifth inning. Bryan Ramos sent his second triple of the game into the right-center gap to lead off the inning off Chih-Ting Wang (L, 0-1) and then for the second time in the game, Adam Hackenberg hit him home. In the seventh, DJ Gladney reached on a throwing error from Herard Gonzalez that allowed a pair of runs to score with two outs to give the Cannon Ballers their largest lead of the game a 6-3 head start. In the bottom half, Juan Carlos Negret was able to make it close again though. Columbia's slugger hit his league-leading 23rd homer over Bojangles Berm in left field to claw back within a single run.
CHALLENGING LEAGUE TOP MARKS: Fireflies outfielder Juan Carlos Negret has established himself as an all-or-nothing hitter during the 2021 campaign. The slugger leads the Low-A East League with 23 homers, which is the most in a single season in Fireflies history. He trails just Dash Winningham, who hit 25 homers between the 2016 and 2017 campaigns for the most all-time homers in Fireflies history. Negret has also done an excellent job at producing RBI this season. Despite having a sub-.200 batting average, Negret has driven in 76 RBI, which is good for the second-best in the league in the 2021 campaign. He only trails Charleston's Diego Infante, who has sent home 80 RBI for the RiverDogs this season.
TOUGH SKATING FOR KAUFMAN: Left-handed starter Rylan Kaufman has struggled in his last few starts, giving up 17 earned runs in 2.2 innings across three starts since the first of September. The starter has seen his ERA rise three ticks to 6.18 since the start of the trek, his worst of the season. He is scheduled to pitch one more time prior to the conclusion of the season.
FINISHING THE RACE STRONG: If nothing else, Saul Garza has been a consistent bat in the middle of the line-up for the Fireflies since he got the call-up from the Arizona Complex League. Garza is hitting .277 in 40 games with the Fireflies and he has slapped three homers while driving in 23 RBI. Across his last 11 games though, the LSU-produce has been hitting particularly well. Garza is 13-43 (.302) with four doubles and four RBI in his last 11 games played.
SIMMERING SIMONELLI: Of all the new pitchers Columbia has gotten in the last month, Anthony Simonelli has made the best first impression. The righty has allowed only a single run to score in his first eight innings with the team. In that time, he has also punched out 12 hitters. He continued his hot stretch Sunday against Augusta when he spun three hitless innings with a pair of strikeouts.
THE K IS FOR ALCANTARA: Fireflies righty Adrian Alcantara has had his way with the swing and miss stuff this season, punching out 95 hitters. The 95 strikeouts are the most for a Fireflies pitcher this season, although Rylan Kaufman is close by with 91. Alcantara notched seven strikeouts in 3.2 innings in his second appearance of the season vs the Cannon Ballers. His first appearance he wrung up eight Kannapolis hitters in just three innings.
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