Molina Collects Three Hits in Finale, Bad Luck Dooms Fireflies in Extras
HICKORY, NC - The Fireflies dropped a heart-breaker on Thursday in Hickory. The Crawdads walked off for a second time in the series, scoring the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th to sink Columbia, 3-2.
Matt Whatley had just been sacrificed over to third base to begin the 10th when Hickory (35-23, 76-48) manager Matt Hagen went right back to the bunt. With one out in the 10th, Jax Biggers dropped a bunt up the first-base line and Whatley scored on the safety squeeze. Brian Sharp fielded the ball at first but his throw home was late.
All three games in the series were decided by one run. In fact, each of the last five meetings between Columbia (26-33, 50-75) and Hickory have been decided by just one single run. The Crawdads also walked off against the Fireflies on Tuesday in 11 innings
Columbia caught of spell of bad luck in the top of the 10th. Guillermo Granadillo began the inning at second and quickly moved to third when Shervyen Newton reached on a fielding error by Hickory shortstop Jonathan Ornelas. Runners were at the corners for Sharp.
Sharp struck a Nick Snyder (W, 4-3) pitch up the middle that was headed for centerfield. The base umpire, Jen Pawol, attempted to get out of the way of the sharp grounder but it hit her foot and ricocheted into right field. Because of that, time was called immediately and Granadillo, who was destined to score easily, was sent back to third base. The Fireflies still had the bases loaded, though, with no one out. The next three Columbia hitters were retired by Snyder and the visitors came away with nothing.
A couple of Fireflies hitters finished with multiple hits, including Gerson Molina who posted his second three-hit game of the season. Nick Conti collected two hits and Jose Medina extended his hit streak to seven straight games on Thursday as well.
Top 1: Chase Chambers plates Nick Conti from third on a sacrifice fly to center field. COL 1, HIC 0
Bottom 2: Miguel Aparicio doubles in Ryan Anderson. COL 1, HIC 1
Top 5: With the bases loaded, Ronny Mauricio grounds out to first baseman, Tyreque Reed, scores Phil Capra. COL 2, HIC 1
Bottom 6: Josh Jung scores from third base on Ryan Anderson's ground out to Conti at second. COL 2, HIC 2
Bottom 10: Matt Whatley scores on Jax Biggers' safety squeeze bunt. HIC 3, COL 2
The Fireflies head to Rome, Georgia, and begin a series with the Braves on Friday at 7:00 ET. Right-hander Daison Acosta (1-3, 2.70) is slotted to take the ball for the Fireflies at State Mutual Stadium. He's scheduled to face righty Alan Rangel (10-7, 4.51). Listen to the action at FirefliesLiveStream.com.
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