The Columbia Fireflies jumped out early and often and would withstand a furious comback attempt in an 11-10 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs Tuesday night at Joe Riley Park. Nick Green (L, 7-7) was tagged for nine runs, eight of them earned, in just 2 and two-thirds innings.
Columbia racked up runs in the second and the third to put the game away early. Natanael Ramos led things off with a single to right field off Green. Colby Woodmansee then doubled to deep right-center field to place runners and second and third. Ian Strom drove Ramos and Woodmansee home with a double down the right field line to make it 2-0 Flies. Green would allow Arnaldo Berrios to reach on a strikeout when his pitch went wild. Vinny Siena would single in Strom after that to extend the lead 3-0. Green would strike out J.J. Franco, but during his at-bat, Berrios would score on a wild pitch. Luis Carpio would then struck out and then Jacob Zanon would earn an infield hit that shortstop Diego Castillo threw past first baseman Brandon Wagner for an error, allowing Vinny Siena to score and a five run advantage.
In the third, Green nipped Ramos with a pitch to lead off the inning. Green would get Woodmansee to strike out, but then Strom hit a ground run double to left to put runners at second and third. Berrios followed with a single down the left field line to drive in Ramos and Strom for a 7-0 lead. Green would get Siena to strike out, but would walk Franco. RiverDogs manager then called to the bullpen to bring in Austin DeCarr to face Carpio. Carpio hit a home run to deep right-center field to give Columbia an insurmountable 10-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Rizzie doubled in Carpio to extend the lead to 11-0 off Dogs reliever Austin DeCarr.
Gabriel Llanes (W, 5-9) would keep the Dogs at bay until the bottom of the sixth. Wagner led off the inning with a single to center field. After Donny Sands struck out, Isiah Gilliam launched a ball deep over the right field wall to bring the Dogs within 11-2. Dermis Garcia grouned out to short for the second out of the inning. Steve Sensley, Oswaldo Cabrera and Pablo Olivares each singled to load the bases. Carlos Vidal then blooped a ball into short center field that fell between the Columbia fielders for a double that scored Sensley and Cabrera to make it 11-4. Castillo followed with a walk to re-load the bases. Wagner drove in Olivares from third with a single up then middle to make it 11-5 and knock Llanes out of the game. Adam Atkins would come in to relieve and walked Donny Sands to plate Vidal and make it 11-6. Isiah Gilliam would end up ripping a double to center field to score Castillo and Wagner and make it 11-8. Atkins would finally get Garcia to strike out and finally end the inning. Gilliam would end up with four runs batted in during the inning.
In the ninth, the Dogs would not go quietly. Gilliam struck out to lead off the inning off Matt Pobereyko who had come in for the Flies to close the game. Garcia followed with a long blast to center field that hit the bottom of the hitter’s backdrop to bring the RiverDogs to 11-9. Pobereyko would strike out Sensely, but the pitch went wild and Sensley would reach. Pobereyko would then walk Cabrera to put runners at first and second. Olivares would fly out to center and Sensely would advance to third. Vidal would drive in Sensely with a line drive single to right to bring the Dogs to within 11-10. Castillo would come to the plate, but Pobereyko would induce a fly ball to right field to end the game.
“We were sloppy early. Five in the second, five in the third, but I think it shows what type of team we have coming back. We had them on the ropes two times and we almost tied that thing up there in the end, but I think it shows what kind of team we have and I’m proud of our guys,” RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn said.
Gilliam ended up 2-for-5 with four runs batted in and Vidal ended up 2-for-4 with three runs batted in for Charleston. Ian Strom went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs for Columbia.
With the loss, the RiverDogs drop to 58-49 overall and 24-13 on the second half. The Fireflies improve to 56-49 and 16-21 in the second half. The Dogs and Flies face off in the final and deciding game of their three game series Wednesday night at Joe Riley Park in a 7:05 PM start.