COLUMBIA, SC – Jordan Humphreys' rampage to start the 2017 season continued on Monday. The right-hander struck out a career-high 12 batters over 6.2 innings, leading Columbia to a 3-2 victory over the Asheville Tourists in the series opener. Humphreys is now 4-0 in four starts (he's struck out 34 and walked just three in 25.1 innings this season).
Ironically, it was Asheville that struck first. Jose Gomez - the second batter of the game - tripled and scored on Vince Fernandez's groundout.
Columbia (11-8) answered right back with a pair of runs in the second. With two outs, both Reed Gamache and Ali Sanchez singled to right field. With runners at the corners, Milton Ramos bounced a fastball back to the mound. Asheville (9-10) starter Riley Pint (L, 0-3) fielded but threw high to first base; the error enabled Gamache to score. Gene Cone gave the home team its first lead when his base hit scored Sanchez.
Then in the sixth inning, Tim Tebow was hit on the hand with a pitch. After an errant pick-off throw bounced away from the first baseman, Tebow whizzed to third base. The outfielder tagged and scored moments later on Gamache's sacrifice fly. Columbia's lead was 3-1.
The Tourists sliced the advantage in half with a score in the seventh, but it wasn't enough. The Fireflies' bullpen proved its worth again. Taylor Henry and Adonis Uceta (S, 2) blanked the visitors the final 2.1 innings. The bullpen has surrendered just two runs the last seven games.
On Tuesday morning, Manager Jose Leger sends right-hander Gabriel Llanes (0-2, 4.86) to the mound to face Tourists' righty Alejandro Requena (0-0, 0.49). First pitch is scheduled for 11:05 a.m.