COLUMBIA- The Asheville Tourists came out flat against the Columbia Fireflies and fell behind big. Columbia built an 8-0 lead and that was too much for Asheville's offense to overcome late. The Tourists tried but ultimately fell short by a final score of 8-5.
Zac Grotz dominated the Tourists for seven innings. The Fireflies starting pitcher threw seven shutout frames with ten strikeouts. Once Columbia went to the bullpen, Asheville woke up. The Tourists plated four runs in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Sean Bouchard and a three-run Home Run by Todd Czinege .
Austin Bernard singled home Matt McLaughlin in the ninth inning; however, the Tourists were unable to bring the tying run to the plate after a groundout and strikeout ended the game.
Columbia built their lead with the long ball. The Fireflies hit back-to-back solo Home Runs in the second inning and used a three-run bomb in the third to go up 5-0. In the fifth, the Fireflies plated three of the softest runs Asheville has allowed all season. Bloop hits and infield singles happened over and over and over until Columbia held the 8-0 advantage.
It turns out that "fortunate" fifth inning was the difference in the game despite the first seven innings not being much of a contest. Bouchard finished 3-for-4 while Czinege and Ryan Vilade chipped in a pair of hits for the Tourists.
Asheville remains three games back of first place with 11 games left on the schedule. The Tourists and Fireflies are back at again it on Friday night with a first pitch time of 7:05pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.