Fireflies Game Notes - May 19 at Rome (Game 43)
Columbia Fireflies (15-27) @ Rome Braves (21-21)
RHP Willy Taveras (2-5, 4.02) vs. LHP Gabriel Noguera (1-1, 4.26)
Sun., May 19, 2019 - State Mutual Stadium (Rome, GA) - First Pitch 2:00 p.m. - Game 43
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LAST TIME OUT: Columbia fell to Rome, 9-5. The Fireflies trailed by four in the fifth, but stormed back with a pair of two-run homers from Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos. Rome would answer the four-run inning by scoring four runs of their own over the next two innings to take the game.
HEEEEEERE'S RONNY!: Mauricio's two-run dinger on Saturday was one of four hits he had on the night. The young shortstop went 4-5 at the plate, and was just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Mauricio currently leads the Fireflies in hits (43), and batting average (.283) among qualified players.
HEATING UP: Entering today's contest, the Fireflies have homered in each of their last four games. It is the longest such streak of the season for Columbia.
YOUR TIME TO SHINE, WILLY: Columbia sends righty starter Willy Taveras to the hill against Rome on Sunday. In two appearances against the Braves in 2019l, Tavares has allowed two runs on nine hits in 10 innings. Tavares is also the Fireflies' current leader in innings pitched (40.1).
WHEN IN ROME: After dropping the first two games in the series to Rome on Friday and Saturday, Columbia can still leave State Mutual Stadium with a series tie. In order to do so, they would need to win on both Sunday and Monday. The Fireflies have yet to drop a series to the Braves this year.
FOLLOW THE LAW: Keith Law, senior baseball writer at ESPN, ranked Columbia's roster as the 7th-most "Loaded Roster" in all of Minor League Baseball. Law recognized the fact Columbia's roster includes the Mets' third, fourth and fifth-rated prospects (infielders Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos and Shervyen Newton, respectively), New York's past two second-round draft choices (RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson, Vientos) and the system's ninth-rated prospect, left-hander Thomas Szapucki (drafted in the fifth round in 2015). The roster also features 26th (Baseball America) and 27th-rated prospects Chris Viall and Christian James. The prospect rankings are according to MLB.com unless otherwise noted.
NEW STAFF: Fireflies second-year manager Pedro Lopez notwithstanding, Columbia has an entirely different coaching staff in 2019. Former big leaguer and Mets pitcher Royce Ring assumes the role as pitching coach and former Eastern League champion Luis Rivera is the new hitting coach. One-time Mets farmhand (and former player for Lopez in Binghamton in 2014) Gilbert Gomez is the team's first-ever bench coach. Daichi Arima (athletic trainer), Sam Nickelsen (strength and conditioning coach), Nicole Collins (assistant athletic trainer) and Dave Williams (mental skills coach) complete the Fireflies coaching staff in 2019.
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