Fireflies Win Greenville Series in Walk-Off Fashion
COLUMBIA, SC - It took all nine innings for Columbia to earn a victory against Greenville on Sunday. With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Chase Chambers drove a fly ball into left field. After the ball was caught, Brian Sharp tagged from third and beat the throw at the plate to score the winning run. The sacrifice fly by Chambers gave the Fireflies their third walk-off win of the season, as well as a series victory over the Drive.
The walk-off provided a fitting end to a neck and neck game. Columbia (23-26, 47-68) starter Jose Butto only pitched the first two innings, but held Greenville (18-30, 50-68) scoreless during his time on the mound. Alec Kisena took the rubber to begin the third, and continued to shut out the Drive through the fifth.
Meanwhile, the Firefly offense was going to work. Mark Vientos smacked a two-run double in the bottom of the third. The two-bagger extended Vientos' on-base streak to ten games, and gave his team an early 2-0 lead.
Hayden Senger continued the scoring an inning later. After Shervyen Newton was hit by a pitch to start the fourth, Senger doubled off the wall in center field. The ball rolled to the wall just slowly enough to give Newton time to score from first and extend Columbia's lead.
Greenville put the potential shutout to bed in the top of the sixth. Tyler Esplin singled to right field with one out. Triston Casas worked a walk behind Esplin, and Kole Cottam took a fastball off the shoulder to load the bases. A Jordan Wren single and a fielding error by Newton later, all three runners had scored and the game was tied.
The Fireflies reclaimed the lead a half-inning later. With runners at the corners and one out, Chandler Avant squared around for the safety squeeze play. Avant got the bunt down successfully, and Jose Medina hustled home to give Columbia their fourth run of the night.
The game reached a deadlock again in the eighth. Casas opened the frame with a leadoff double into the left field corner. Cottam singled behind the Red Sox prospect to put two men on with no outs. Wren followed Cottam by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. Casas crossed home on the turn of two.
The ninth inning brought the walk-off sacrifice fly from Chambers. Justin Lasko (W, 2-0) pitched the final three innings and was credited with the win.
The Fireflies have won seven of their last eight games with Sunday's victory. Additionally, Columbia has now earned back-to-back series wins for the second time in 2019. The win and an 11-0 loss from Augusta puts the Fireflies four games out of first place with 21 games left in the season.
Columbia travels to Charleston on Monday for a three-game series against the RiverDogs. Monday's opener from Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park will begin at 7:05 ET. Coverage begins at 6:45 ET at FirefliesLiveStream.com and MiLB.TV.
Bottom 3: Mark Vientos doubles on a line drive to center field, Gerson Molina and Sharp score. COL 2, GVL 0
Bottom 4: Hayden Senger doubles to center, Shervyen Newton scores from first. COL 3, GVL 0
Top 6: Jordan Wren singles to right, Tyler Esplin and Triston Casas score, Kole Cottam scores on a fielding error. COL 3, GVL 3
Bottom 6: Chandler Avant reaches on a sacrifice bunt, Jose Medina scores from third. COL 4, GVL 3
Top 8: Wren grounds into a double play, Casas scores from third. COL 4, GVL 4
Bottom 9: Chambers flies out to left field, Sharp tags and scores. COL 5, GVL 4
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