CHARLESTON, WV – Vicente Lupo blasted a three-run home run on Saturday night, but Columbia still fell to West Virginia, 7-6. Lupo drove in four runs at Appalachian Power Park and extended his hit streak to seven games.
The contest was tied, 5-5, heading to the ninth inning. The first two Fireflies recorded outs, but it was Kevin Kaczmarski who provided the spark with a triple to right-center field. Luis Ortega came off the bench and laced a pinch-hit RBI single to right that broke the tie. Columbia (3-7, 39-41) went into the bottom of the ninth up a run.
Remarkably, Power hitters Mitchell Tolman and Carlos Munoz smacked back-to-back home runs to win in walk-off fashion.
Saturday's game had a little bit of everything: two ties, five lead changes, four total homers and an ejection (West Virginia manager Brian Esposito was tossed in the eighth inning).
West Virginia (6-4, 41-38) scored a run in the second frame, only to watch the Fireflies pull ahead in the fourth. David Thompson doubled to start the inning against starter Mitch Keller and later, Patrick Mazeika walked. That set the table for Lupo's long ball over the left-field fence. The outfielder is hitting .500 (10-for-20) during his seven-game hit streak.
The Power reclaimed the lead with a four-run fifth inning. Munoz tripled home a pair and two batters later, Logan Hill bashed his second dinger of the season. It was 5-3 after five.
The visitors tied the score the next half inning. The new reliever on the mound was Julio Vivas (W, 1-0) and Columbia roughed him up quickly. Tyler Moore singled and Mazeika drew his second walk. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up. Moore tagged and scored from third base thanks to Lupo's sacrifice fly and two batters later, Enmanuel Zabala doubled in Mazeika.
The score remained knotted until the ninth. Witt Haggard (L, 1-4) tossed a scoreless eighth, but was dealt the loss.
Columbia finishes its series with West Virginia on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Righty Joe Shaw (4-5, 4.80) squares off against right-hander Logan Sendelbach (5-2, 3.44).