Fireflies Bullpen Shines in Rome Finale
COLUMBIA, SC - Columbia's bullpen stole the show in Sunday's series finale against Rome. Facing a 3-0 deficit after the second inning, four Firefly relievers combined to hold the Braves scoreless for the remainder of the ballgame. Unfortunately, Columbia's offense failed to engineer a comeback and ultimately fell, 3-2.
Colin Holderman (L, 3-2) started on the mound on Sunday. The righty battled to keep Rome (28-28, 58-67) off the board in the first, but struggled in the second. Eight Braves hitters came to bat in the frame. Three hits, two walks and an untimely error from the Firefly defense put a crooked number on the board for the visitors.
Jake Simon, Danny Hrbek, Justin Lasko and Cole Gordon took over from there.
Simon allowed just one baserunner in three scoreless innings out of the pen. Hrbek, on the other hand, had a slightly more difficult outing. The Effort, PA native faced bases loaded situations in both the sixth and seventh innings. Yet, the former Radford two-way star somehow managed to tiptoe through the danger and keep the deficit at three.
Columbia (25-31, 49-73) turned to Lasko and Gordon for the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. The duo faced the minimum in the final two frames to set up a potential rally for the offense.
Things looked bleak for the home team after Guillermo Granadillo popped out to start the bottom of the ninth. A pair of four-pitch walks later, the momentum began to shift.
Phil Capra and Gerson Molina each reached on the free passes. The pair then advanced to second and third after a wild pitch from Gabriel Noguera (S, 1).
Nick Conti represented the tying run at the plate at this time. Conti grounded a ball to third in what looked to be the game's final out. However, Braulio Vasquez airmailed the throw to first. The errant heave allowed both Capra and Molina to score, and practically gifted third base to Conti.
Brian Sharp then came to bat with the game on the line. Unfortunately, there was no swan-song for Sharp this evening. The lefty struck out on three pitches to end the affair.
The loss resulted in a series split for both teams. Columbia remains seven games back of first place with 14 contests remaining on the schedule.
After an off day on Monday, the Fireflies will embark on a daunting six-game road stand. The trip away from Segra Park will begin in Hickory on Tuesday evening. First pitch for the series opener against the CrawDads is set for 7:00 ET. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6:40 ET at FirefliesLiveStream.com.
Columbia returns for its final homestand of 2019 on August 26. Tickets for each of the four remaining home games can be found at Firefliestickets.com.
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South Atlantic League Stories from August 18, 2019
- Braves Survive Wild 9th Inning to Win 3-2 - Rome Braves
- Fireflies Bullpen Shines in Rome Finale - Columbia Fireflies
- Long's Six Shutout Innings Propels Kannapolis to Victory - Kannapolis Intimidators
- Jackets Pull Within One-Game of 1st Place - Augusta GreenJackets
- Drive Holds off Hickory, 3-2, on Sunday - Greenville Drive
- Tourists Fall to RiverDogs; Still Manage Strong Homestand - Asheville Tourists
- Smith's Four RBI Afternoon Helps RiverDogs Salvage Finale - Charleston RiverDogs
- 'Birds Upend 'Claws Late, Match Record - Delmarva Shorebirds
- Martinez' Quality Start Lifts Power to 4-2 Win in Finale - West Virginia Power
- Suns Drop Finale to West Virginia 4-2 - Hagerstown Suns
- Birds Score Three in 8th to Top Claws 4-2 - Lakewood BlueClaws
- Fireflies Game Notes: August 18 vs. Rome (Game 122) - Columbia Fireflies
- Hagerstown Suns: Game Notes - Hagerstown Suns
- Bill on Baseball: Shutout Pitching Carries Hoppers - Greensboro Grasshoppers
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