Fireflies Offense Explodes in Series Finale against Asheville
ASHEVILLE, NC - Eight of Columbia's nine starters reached base safely twice in Sunday's 11-9 win against Asheville. The Fireflies smacked a season-high 18 hits on the day, besting the Tourists in another slugfest at McCormick Field.
Hayden Senger, Wagner Lagrange and Gerson Molina led the way for Columbia (26-44). The trio totaled nine hits on 15 plate appearances, knocking in a combined six RBIs and scoring four runs.
Lagrange opened the affair in the top of the first with a single to center, bringing home Ronny Mauricio from third. The base hit ensured that Lagrange had an RBI in each game of the series against Asheville (31-43). The Tourists returned the favor in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run homer from Niko Decolati (2). The blast gave Asheville their only lead of the afternoon.
The Fireflies didn't let that lead last very long. In the top of the second, Senger ripped a solo home run (3) to dead-center off Tourists starter Ryan Feltner (L, 3-6). The solo shot tied the game at two apiece. Columbia struck again an inning later. Lagrange capitalized on a bases-loaded, nobody out situation by singling into left, scoring Chandler Avant. Chase Chambers came across later in the frame on a wild pitch from Feltner.
Fireflies reliever Tylor Megill (W, 2-0) entered the game in the bottom of the fourth. The Californian didn't allow a run in his first inning, but did face some trouble in the fifth. Megill allowed a leadoff double to Tourists backstop Javier Guevara. Guevara advanced to third on a sac bunt from Cade Harris, then scored when Terrin Vavra singled to right. The base hit from Vavra put Asheville within one heading to the top of the sixth.
That next half inning would prove to be the difference maker for the Fireflies. 10 Columbia hitters came to the plate that frame, scoring five runs on six hits and one walk. The six hits were the most recorded by the Fireflies in a single inning this season. Juan Uriarte, Mark Vientos and Molina all produced RBIs during the rally, with Vientos bringing home a pair. The five-run onslaught put Columbia ahead of the Tourists, 9-3.
Asheville answered the big inning with a run of its own in the bottom half of the sixth. With two outs, Kyle Datres hit a solo homer (6) to right on the ninth pitch he saw from Megill. The longball was Megill's first HR allowed of 2019.
The Fireflies struck again in the top of the seventh. Senger drove in his second run of the day on a double to right-center. Molina followed suit behind Senger with a single to right, scoring the Ohio native on the play.
The Tourists had their big inning following the seventh inning stretch. Asheville tacked three runs on the board with run-scoring singles from Grant Lavigne and Datres. The Tourists added another pair of runs to their total in the bottom of the eighth. Decolati brought home Guevara with a sac fly and Lavigne scored Vavra with a single through the middle. The five unanswered runs cut Columbia's lead to two entering the ninth.
Billy Oxford (S, 2) took over from there. The righty had a man on first with two outs and had the tying run at the plate. Oxford ended the game by freezing Harris on a 1-2 fastball. The strikeout gave him the save and his team the series tie.
Columbia continues its road trip with a three-game set against Lexington beginning on Monday. First pitch from Whitaker Bank Ballpark is set for 7:05 ET. You can tune in to the action at FireFliesLivestream.com or watch online at MiLB.TV.
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South Atlantic League Stories from June 23, 2019
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- Fireflies Game Notes: June 23 at Asheville (Game 70) - Columbia Fireflies
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- Game Notes (June 23) - West Virginia Power
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