COLUMBIA- The Columbia Fireflies found a new hero on Saturday night, Jay Jabs. The utility outfielder, just a .158 hitter, belted the eventual game-winning Home Run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Asheville Tourists' comeback attempt fell one run short as the Tourists dropped their third straight to the Fireflies, 5-4.
Once again, Columbia used a three-run inning to do most of their damage. The Fireflies scored three runs in the bottom of the second for their fifth three-run inning in the last three games. Asheville had originally taken a 1-0 lead on Todd Czinege 's Home Run in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the fifth, one of the strangest plays of the season occurred. With Frederis Parra on the mound, Columbia's Giovanny Alfonzo took off from first to attempt to steal second. Parra initially did not see Alfonzo and by the time he did, clearly committed a balk. Both umpires signaled the balk and called for time.
Parra threw the ball towards second but because of the balk and time signaled, the Tourists did not attempt to catch the throw. The ball went into centerfield and Alfonzo took off for third. Apparently, no one seemed to care. Alfonzo stood at third base with a grin on his face waiting for someone to tell him to go back to second base. No one did. He then scored on a groundball that snuck through Asheville's drawn in infield.
The Tourists did plate a pair of runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI double by Matt McLaughlin and a sacrifice fly by Ramon Marcelino . However, they still trailed and Jabs' Home Run proved to be the insurance Columbia needed. Asheville scored once in the ninth but the tying run was left at first base when the game's final out was recorded.
For the third consecutive game, Asheville's starting pitcher was severely outpitched. Columbia's starter, Yeizo Campos, went seven innings and earned the win. The Tourists will hope to avoid being swept with Sunday's series finale scheduled for 2:05pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.