Sell-Out Crowd of 7,872 Celebrate Independence Day Early with Fireflies Win
COLUMBIA, SC - The sell-out crowd of 7,872 that made it out to Segra Park on Wednesday night for Columbia's Independence Day celebration wasn't only treated to a win. It saw something that has never happened before in Fireflies history. Columbia rocked Greenville, 9-2, thanks to an eight-run first inning that featured nine hits, 10 baserunners and 13 total hitters. The Fireflies clinched the series win with the thrashing of their division rivals.
The eight runs tied the franchise record for runs scored in an inning, but it was the first time it occurred in the opening frame. The first five batters recorded hits against Greenville (6-8, 38-46) starter Alex Scherff (L, 3-6), who didn't make it out of the first inning. After back to back strikeouts, the next five reached as well. The nine hits are now a new record for total hits in an inning.
It was smooth sailing from there as the largest crowd of the season watched on. With the Fireflies on the road for the Fourth of July, the fans in the Midlands celebrated early and in style. Columbia (7-7, 31-49) got back to .500 with the win on Wednesday.
Another remarkable note from Wednesday's game is that every Fireflies hitter recorded at least one hit by the end of the second inning. Columbia finished with 16, four shy of the franchise record.
The first firework of the evening was Brian Sharp's two-run homer in the opening frame. That was the lefty's team-best eighth of the year. Mark Vientos and Chase Chambers followed with singles and Wagner Lagrange brought them both home with a double to left field. The Fireflies led 4-0 before Scherff recorded an out.
Later in the inning, with Lagrange at second, Zach Rheams roped a double to right-center field that drove in the runner. Rheams then scored moments later when Gerson Molina - the nine-hitter in the order - dropped a flair into left field. Ronny Mauricio had earlier singled in the stanza, and this time walked during his second plate appearance. Sharp drove in another run with a single moments later. The home team had one more punch left in it. Vientos' second single of the inning brought in Mauricio and the Fireflies led, 8-0.
Columbia starter Tylor Megill hurled two scoreless innings to begin his night to back up the offense. The right-hander at one point struck out five Drive hitters in a row. Megill surrendered two runs in the third - just one earned - but those were the only runs Greenville scored in the series finale.
The Fireflies offense went stagnant until the fifth. Mauricio led that inning off with a 421-foot home run to left. It was his third blast of the season and second hit of the night. Mauricio has now hit safely in seven straight games.
Mauricio wasn't the only Firefly with multiple hits. In fact, six Columbia hitters tallied multi-hit games, including Vientos who finished with three base knocks.
Six players also drove in runs, including Sharp, who finished with 3 RBI and Lagrange (2 RBI).
The newest Firefly on the roster, 2019 draft pick and former Mississippi State Bulldog Cole Gordon (W, 1-0), picked up his first professional win. The right-hander logged two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and struck out two. Nelson Leon (S, 1) then followed with three shut-out frames of his own to close out the game.
Columbia hits the road on Thursday and plays Hickory on the Fourth of July. Right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson (1-8, 5.12) starts for the Fireflies. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 ET and you can listen to action at FirefliesLiveStream.com.
Images from this story
Segra Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies
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