GREENVILLE, SC – Game one of Columbia's series in Greenville did not disappoint. Tuesday featured another tight game, but the Fireflies fell, 5-4, at Fluor Field. Columbia's franchise-record nine-game win streak came to an end and the club now trails the first-place Drive by a game and a half with five left in the first half.
Greenville (39-25) scored the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth. Nick Lovullo started the frame off with a walk and the next hitter, Lorenzo Cedrola, looked to move the runner into scoring position. Cedrola's bunt darted back to the mound, where reliever Cam Griffin (L, 0-1) fielded and tossed to the second base bag. The throw pulled short stop Andres Gimenez just slightly off the cushion but it appeared Gimenez tagged Lovullo before he slid in. The runner was ruled safe at second and the following batter, Santiago Espinal, bounced a base hit through the right side of the infield, scoring Lovullo.
Columbia (37-25) fell behind 4-0 after the first four innings but got them all back in the top of the fifth. The first six batters of the frame reached safely – the first half of that stretch featuring Luis Carpio (walk), Ali Sanchez (single) and Jay Jabs (single). The bases were loaded for Reed Gamache. The infielder whacked a single into right field which scored Carpio. With the bags still full, Tim Tebow plated a pair with a double to the left-field wall. Gene Cone then tied the game up at 4-4 with another run-scoring base hit.
With Jabs at second base and one out in the top of the ninth, Cone nearly put the visitors ahead. He ripped a fastball down the line but Drive first baseman Tucker Tubbs made a sprawling catch and then stomped on first base to double up the base-runner at first (Tebow).
The Fireflies battle the Drive again on Wednesday at Fluor Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Columbia starts right-handed SAL All-Star Merandy Gonzalez (8-1, 1.56) who toes the rubber against Greenville southpaw Kyle Hart (2-1, 1.86).