COLUMBIA, SC – Columbia's bullpen put together a very solid performance on Friday evening in the 12-2 loss to Lakewood. Matt Blackham and Max Kuhns were as sharp as nails and combined for five shutout innings of relief in front of 6,253 fans. This marks the fourth time this season the attendance has been upwards of 6,000 at Spirit Communications Park.
Blackham lasted three frames on the mound, recorded two strikeouts, and absorbed just two hits. Meanwhile, Kuhns retired the side in order with all strikeouts in the seventh and then pitched another hitless stanza in the eighth. The Colorado native has thrown 7.2 scoreless innings in his last four outings.
Lakewood (17-12) scored eight runs in the second inning – the most Columbia (14-14) has allowed in a frame this season. Joel Huertas (L, 0-2) made his first start of the season for the Fireflies and was unable to make it through the second inning. Adonis Medina (W, 1-2) logged four innings for the BlueClaws and recorded six strikeouts.
The Fireflies broke open the gates immediately with offense in the first inning. Andres Gimenez singled and scored Gene Cone, which was the first run of the game. Gimenez, the 18-year-old, has registered at least one hit in each of his first five games as a Firefly. Jay Jabs collected a run-scoring double in the first and Columbia grabbed the quick 2-0 advantage.
Luis Carpio finished with two hits and that extended his hitting streak to eight games – longest by a Firefly so far this season. Michael Paez also kept his streak of hits alive – seven consecutive contests. Tim Tebow added a pair of hits (fourth multi-hit game of the year).
The Fireflies are back in action Saturday night against the BlueClaws for game two of this series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park. Lefty Blake Taylor (0-4, 5.85) makes his fifth start for Columbia this season. Southpaw Nick Fanti (1-0, 2.08) takes the mound for Lakewood.
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.