Jordan Humphreys pitched the Columbia Fireflies past the Charleston RiverDogs 4-1 Friday night at a sold out Joe Riley Park.
Humphreys (W, 10-1) kept the RiverDogs offense off balance all night long. The only run the Dogs would score came in the bottom of the second when Brandon Wagner led the inning off with a double and was chased home with a single up the middle by Ben Ruta. That gave the Dogs a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Columbia would break through in the third inning off Charleston starter Nick Nelson (L 0-6). The Flies would get a lead off single from Brandon Brosher who beat out a throw from shortstop Hoy Jun Park. Tim Tebow hit a bouncing ball that found the hole on the left side of the infield to move Brosher to second. Milton Ramos would single in Brosher with a single up the middle to tie the game at one.
Tebow was the main focus of the 7,257 fans in attendance. He was the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 on the evening.
The Fireflies would take the lead for good in the fourth. Jay Jabs had a one-out single down the left field line with one out to bring Jose Medina to the plate. Nelson plunked Medina to put runners at first and second. Brosher hit an opposite field over the right field wall to put the Flies ahead 4-1.
“For the first time back after a couple of weeks off, he looked pretty good. I was really happy with what I saw. He said he felt good, he felt strong so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. We didn’t swing the bats as well as we would have liked, didn’t get the result we wanted,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said.
RiverDogs centerfielder Blake Rutherford returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a foot contusion. He ended up going 1-for-4. “I felt good. Obviously it’s been a little while since I’ve hit, but it felt good to get back out there and just to continue the process and continue the development,” Rutherford said.
Humphreys’ win was his 10th on the season, making him the South Atlantic League leader in that category. His Columbia teammate, Merandy Gonzalez, is second in the league with eight victories.
The RiverDogs drop to 32-36 on the season. Columbia improves to 40-26 on the season and keep a half-game lead over the second place Greenville Drive for the Southern Division First Half title which guarantees a spot in the playoffs.
The two teams play the second game of their three game set Saturday at 6:05 PM. Another sell out crowd is expected at Joe Riley Park.