ASHEVILLE- The Asheville Tourists dropped their home opener to the Columbia Fireflies 7-5 in extra innings. It is Asheville fifth loss by two runs or less already this year. Asheville did overcome a 5-0 deficit to force extras but struggled in the tenth.
The Tourists did not help their cause by issuing a season-high 11 walks to the Fireflies. That is the most walks Columbia has drawn in an individual game in franchise history. Erick Julio lasted only 1.2 innings and passed out five free passes.
All five of Columbia's runs were scored off Julio in the first two innings. Asheville's bullpen, led by Nick Kennedy , gave the offense a chance to swing back into the game. Kennedy worked 3.1 scoreless innings of relief before turning the ball over to Robert Tyler .
The Tourists used a sacrifice fly by Sean Bouchard and a three-run Home Run by Ramon Marcelino to cut the deficit to one run. In the sixth, Casey Golden launched a 468-foot Homer to tie the score.
Asheville's Ben Bowden and Tommy Doyle escaped major jams in the eighth and ninth innings to keep the game tied. The Tourists just could not muster any offense late. Columbia plated a pair of runs in the top of the tenth with the new extra-inning rule and Asheville failed to capitalize in the bottom half.
The Fireflies finished with 12 hits, 11 walks, and a hit batter reaching base. They left a total of 15 runners aboard. The sellout crowd at McCormick Field had plenty to cheer about as the Tourists never quit. Asheville will look to even the series on Friday night with game two scheduled for 7:05pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.