Fireflies Claim Series Opener over Drive on Tuesday
COLUMBIA, SC - The Fireflies took down the Drive 6-4 in the series opener on Tuesday night at Spirit Communications Park. Tony Dibrell (W, 5-5) continued his second-half success on the mound. The righty flashed 5.2 innings, allowed just two runs, had zero walks, and struck out six batters. In eight second-half starts, Dibrell hasn't absorbed more than two earned runs in seven of these outings and holds a 2.49 ERA.
Down 2-0, Columbia scored six runs from the third to the fifth inning. Hansel Moreno charged up the third frame with a one-out triple. Matt Winaker knocked in Moreno with an RBI groundout.
In the fourth, Gio Alfonzo and Jose Brizuela - two former teammates at Florida State - sparked the offense with a pair of singles. Dionis Paulino, with runners at first and second, smacked a base hit into shallow center field. Alfonzo scored easily and while Brizuela rushed to third, Greenville's Kervin Suarez threw wide of the bag. Brizuela hustled towards home plate and arrived safely just ahead of the tag. Paulino ended up at third on Suarez's throwing error. Carlos Sanchez brought in Paulino with an RBI groundout. The Fireflies led 4-2 after four frames.
Zach Rheams extended the offensive surge into the fifth stanza. The 22-year-old singled with one out. A couple of lengthy at-bats from the Fireflies helped apply more pressure to Greenville's starter Jhonathan Diaz (L, 7-8). Alfonzo worked a nine-pitch walk and the next batter, Brizuela, singled on the 10th pitch to right field. Once Jarren Duran fielded Brizuela's single in right, while Rheams rounded third, he chucked the ball passed home plate. Rheams scored on the error. Brizuela and Alfonzo moved up to second and third respectively on that same play. After the home team chased Diaz from the game, Alfonzo added the second run of the inning when relief pitcher Dominic LoBrutto balked. Columbia held a 6-2 edge through five.
Greenville threatened when it shrunk Columbia's lead down to two with a pair of runs in the eighth (6-4, Fireflies). However, Carlos Hernandez (S, 4) closed the door with a five-out save (1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K).
THE STREAK: Winaker extended his on-base streak to 18 games with a double in the first inning. This is the third-longest on-base streak from a Firefly this season.
Jeremy Vasquez, 29 (April 5-May 6)
Raphael Gladu, 28 (May 2-June 9)
Matt Winaker, 18 (July 19-pres)
The Fireflies and Drive play game two of this series on Wednesday night at Spirit Communications Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and you can listen to the action starting at 6:45 on FOX SPORTS Radio 1400 AM or online at columbiafireflies.com. The game is also available to watch live on MiLB.tv. RHP Zac Grotz (1-4, 5.89) starts for Columbia and faces RHP Eduard Bazardo who makes his Drive debut.
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South Atlantic League Stories from August 7, 2018
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