COLUMBIA, SC – The Fireflies shut out the GreenJackets on Sunday for a second time in three days. The 6-0 victory clinched Columbia's four-game series sweep of Augusta to begin the 2017 season. Ironically enough, the club's last four-game sweep came against these same GreenJackets from August 19-22 of last season.
For the fourth straight night, at least eight of the home team's nine hitters reached base safely (in fact, all nine reached on Saturday). Already with a 3-0 led in the fifth, Tim Tebow doubled his team's advantage after shattering a three-run home run over the right-field wall at Spirit Communications Park. The former Florida Gator has three hits in his first three starts – two of which are dingers.
Columbia (4-0) took its initial lead in the second frame, chasing Augusta (0-4) starter Melvin Adon (L, 0-1) after just an inning and two-thirds. Adon walked the bases loaded and Ali Sanchez scorched a single through the left side of the diamond – the hit scored two. Gene Cone then stretched the lead to three with an opposite-field base knock of his own, which plated Milton Ramos. Cone finished with a pair of hits.
The Fireflies knocked the GreenJackets' starting pitchers out early in all four games of the series: the second, third, fourth and third innings to be exact.
Starter Merandy Gonzalez (W, 1-0) headlined the shutout. The native of the Dominican Republic dazzled over six frames, striking out six and allowing just three hits. Behind him, Max Kuhns and Cam Griffin finished the job. The trio combined to retire 18 of the final 19 Augusta hitters (the lone man to reach walked).
At the plate, first baseman Anthony Dimino somehow surpassed his performance from Saturday night. After reaching base in all four plate appearances (two walks, single, double), Dimino then recorded three more hits on Sunday and also scored a run.
Columbia's longest win streak during its inaugural season was five. The club can match that tomorrow with a win over the Hickory Crawdads. The two teams begin a three-game series at Spirit Communications Park with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Manager Jose Leger sends right-hander Colin Holderman to the mound to face Hickory starter Argenis Rodriguez.
You can listen to the action on ESPN Columbia 94.9 FM and 1230 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 6:45 p.m.