The Columbia Fireflies (24-21) defeated the West Virginia Power (24-19) 6-5 on Wednesday at Spirit Communications Park to take a 2-1 series lead over West Virginia.
The Fireflies have one more game left against West Virginia before they play a four-game series against South Division rival Greenville Drive. Today was also a big day for students as it was Reading Day sponsored by the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, allowing several local schools to take a field trip to watch the Fireflies.
The game didn’t start get off to a strong start as the Fireflies had hoped for when left fielder Calvin Mitchell hit a home run at the top of the first inning to give West Virginia a 1-0 lead. This lead to the Fireflies not finding their strength in the bottom of the first.
There continued to be not much hope for Columbia when third baseman Brett Pope hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning to give the Power a 3-0 lead.
The Fireflies couldn’t get any offense going until Blake Tiberi doubled in the bottom of the fourth, which led to an RBI for Ali Sanchez. Sanchez also scored which made the game much closer with the Fireflies only trailing 3-2 heading into the fifth inning.
The Power responded in the sixth inning when first baseman Kyle Watson tripled, which led to a run for him and an RBI for Rodolfo Castro. The top of the seventh inning helped West Virginia even more when Oneil Cruz scored off a Raul Hernandez single. This gave the Power a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The bottom of the seventh was the turning point for the Fireflies when they had five players with hits, which led to the bases being loaded with two outs. Columbia had three players with RBI’s in the seventh and had four runs to give the Fireflies a 6-5 lead heading into the eighth inning.
Relief pitcher Aaron Ford and closer Trey Cobb were huge for the Fireflies in this matchup, allowing zero runs in the eighth and ninth innings, which ultimately secured the win for Columbia.
The Fireflies will return home Thursday in an attempt to secure the final game against West Virginia. This is part of an eight game homestand which features another series against Greenville starting Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.