LAKEWOOD, NJ – The Fireflies erased a three-run deficit on Tuesday night and defeated the BlueClaws, 5-4. The Fireflies have won six of seven and took three of four games from Lakewood in the road series. Tuesday was the largest come from behind win of the year for the visitors.
Lakewood (22-17) plated a run in the bottom of the first inning and added two more in the third. Raul Rivas and Mickey Moniak both singled to begin the frame. The bases loaded when Gabriel Llanes (W, 2-2), plunked Darick Hall. Henri Lartigue and Cord Sandberg’s base hits each plated a run. The home team was in front, 3-0.
Columbia (20-17) then loaded the bags in the following half inning. Tim Tebow stepped to the plated with no outs, and although the lefty grounded into a double play, the effort allowed a run to come in.
The visitors took their first lead of the day in the sixth inning. Michael Paez began with a double – his team-best 12th of the season – and darted to third base when Dash Winningham grounded out to second base. Two batters later, Tebow did the same and chopped a grounder to Lakewood second baseman Daniel Brito. This time, Brito bobbled the baseball and threw late to first base. The error allowed Paez to score Columbia’s second run. BlueClaws starter JoJo Romero was then lifted for right-hander Ismael Cabrera (L, 2-2). Ali Sanchez continued the inning with a single and Tebow moved to third. A moment later, Sanchez swiped second and the Fireflies had two in scoring position. Milton Ramos skied a Cabrera pitch into shallow center field that looked as if it would be caught. But the baseball dropped in front of Moniak, the centerfielder, and the hit scored a pair.
The Fireflies stretched the lead to 5-3 with a seventh inning run. Luis Carpio singled and later scored from third base on an error – one of three commit by the BlueClaws in the frame.
Lakewood would score once more in the seventh, but that would be all. Reliever Max Kuhns (S, 1) struck out five over 2.2 innings to nail down the win. Kuhns has recorded 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Fireflies are off on Wednesday but return to action and host the West Virginia Power at Spirit Communications Park on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the Fireflies will trot out right-hander Merandy Gonzalez (5-1, 1.88) to the mound to face Power righty Luis Escobar (3-2, 4.93).
Story Credit: Columbia Fireflies