CHARLESTON, WV – Dash Winningham blasted his fourth homer of the season on Thursday, but Columbia fell to West Virginia in the series opener, 4-2. The Fireflies have now launched at least one long ball in five straight games. It was Winningham who started that streak with a solo home run on Sunday.
Columbia (2-6, 38-40) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. J.C. Rodriguez ripped a double down the right-field line and wound up at third base after Kevin Kaczmarski singled. David Thompson grounded out to third, but that enabled Rodriguez to score. Thompson's 57 RBIs are tops in the South Atlantic League.
Kevin Canelon (L, 4-6) lost the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Mitchell Tolman turned on a fastball and smacked a home run over the right-field wall. Canelon would allow just two more earned runs – three total – over the course of 6.2 innings. Even despite taking the loss, the lefty registered his ninth quality start in 14 outings this year.
West Virginia (5-3, 40-37) scored twice more in the third frame before Winningham's dinger. The score was 3-2 in favor of the Power.
Tolman went yard again in the seventh, increasing the home team's lead to 4-2. Later in the frame, Canelon loaded the bases and was then lifted for reliever Seth Davis. The southpaw struck out Logan Hill to end the threat.
The series continues Friday night at Appalachian Power Park at 7:05 p.m. Righty Bryce Beeler (0-0, 0.00) makes his first professional start against West Virginia right-hander Gage Hinsz (1-2, 4.44).
You can listen to the action on WGCV 620 AM, 105.1 and 96.3 FM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 7 p.m.