COLUMBIA, SC – Not many hitters around the South Atlantic League have a better eye than former USC Gamecock Gene Cone at the plate. His walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning scored the winning run on Tuesday night. The Fireflies defeated the Shorebirds, 2-1, at Spirit Communications Park – it was the team's first walk-off win of the season.
Tim Tebow scored that winning run after drawing a walk off reliever Matt Trowbridge (L, 0-1) earlier in the inning. Catcher Ali Sanchez then blasted a pitch up in the zone into the left-center gap. Tebow motored to third base and Sanchez wound up at second. Delmarva (12-14) then intentionally walked Milton Ramos to pitch to Cone. The former South Carolina Gamecock has now walked 15 times this year, tied for third in the league.
Columbia (14-12) won despite being out-hit 7-4 on Tuesday (all four hits were doubles, interestingly enough). Two of those hits came in the bottom of the first inning. Luis Carpio blistered a double and scored moments later when 18-year-old Mets prospect Andres Gimenez ripped a two-bagger of his own into the right-center field gap.
The Shorebirds tied the game up the next half inning. Chris Shaw doubled and three batters later was plated by Preston Palmeiro when the first baseman singled.
That run proved to be the only blemish of the evening for Fireflies starter Gabriel Llanes. The righty struck out six over seven innings and has now allowed just two runs over his last 20 innings on the bump. Adonis Uceta (W, 1-0) retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth frames.
The Fireflies and Shorebirds meet again rather soon, at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday morning. The scheduled starters are right-hander Merandy Gonzalez (4-0, 0.00) for Columbia and righty Lucas Humpal (0-2, 3.95) for Delmarva.