Newton Goes on Rampage in Series Opener in Hickory
HICKORY, NC - Shervyen Newton had perhaps his finest night at the plate all season on Tuesday. The third baseman singled, doubled, homered and drove in four runs in an extra-inning loss to Hickory. After the Crawdads scored two runs in the ninth to tie things up, the home team scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th to walk it off, 9-8.
Tuesday's opener was a whacky game. It, at one point, featured a 7-1 Fireflies advantage, an advantage that the visiting club lost in the late innings. Even after losing the lead, Columbia (25-32, 49-74) cashed in for a run in the top of the 10th. Gerson Molina began the inning at second and was sacrificed over to third by Ronny Mauricio. The next batter, Brian Sharp, was retired and that set up a tense moment for Jose Medina with two outs.
Medina bounced a grounder to Jonathan Ornelas at short who threw high to first and pulled Tyreque Reed off the base. The error allowed Molina to score and for Columbia to take an 8-7 lead.
Hickory (42-25, 75-47) punched back and tied things in the home half. Matt Whatley drove a fly ball out to right with the tying run sitting at third. Medina made the catch but Melvin Novoa tagged and scored.
Kelvin Gonzalez (W, 6-2) then shut the Fireflies down in the top of the 11th. The Crawdads wasted little time scoring in the bottom of the 11th. Josh Jung first singled through the left side against Justin Lasko (L, 3-1) which moved the runner, Jax Biggers, to third. Reed then clocked the first pitch he saw from Lasko up the middle to score the game-winner.
Newton's two-run home run in the sixth gave the Fireflies a six-run edge at the time. Hickory scored three immediately in the bottom of the sixth, one in the eighth and the two fateful runs in the home ninth to knot things up at 7-7. The home run was Newton's ninth of the season and his seven total bases were the most in a game for the 20-year-old this year.
Columbia is now 3-5 in extra-inning games this season.
Bottom 1: Josh Jung stings an RBI double to the left-field gap, scores Jax Biggers. HIC 1, COL 0
Top 4: Columbia loads the bases and Shervyen Newton rips a single into right; thanks to a fielding error by Pedro Gonzalez, all three runners score ... Newton later scores on a wild pitch. COL 4, HIC 1
Top 6: Hayden Senger plates Jose Medina after a double down the left-field line ... Newton blasts two-run homer. COL 7, HIC 1
Bottom 6: With runners at second and third, Ryan Anderson bounces a grounder to third; Newton fields and throws high to first; the error allows both runners to score ... Miguel Aparicio scores Anderson with a base hit. COL 7, HIC 4
Bottom 8: Pedro Gonzalez singles, plates Melvin Novoa. COL 7, HIC 5
Bottom 9: Tyreque Reed's sacrifice fly brings in Jonathan Ornelas ... Anderson rolls another grounder to third, a throwing error allows Anderson to reach and the game-tying run to score. COL 7, HIC 7
Top 10: Gerson Molina scores from third when Jose Medina reaches on an error. COL 8, HIC 7
Bottom 10: Melvin Novoa moves to third on Miguel Aparicio's single and tags and scores on Matt Whatley's sacrifice fly. COL 8, HIC 8
Bottom 11: Reed drives in Biggers with a base hit up the middle. HIC 9, COL 8
Game two of the series between Columbia and Hickory is scheduled for 7:00 ET on Wednesday at L.P. Frans Stadium. Right-hander Bryce Hutchinson (4-7, 3.39) is set to face righty Ricky Vanasco, who will make his South Atlantic League debut with the Crawdads. You can listen to the game at FirefliesLiveStream.com.
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