HAGERSTOWN, MD - Columbia blasted three homers on Saturday, tallied 13 hits and steamrolled Hagerstown in the series opener, 14-6. The Fireflies outscored the Suns, 11-3, from the fourth inning on and have now won four of their last five games.
The 14 runs scored on just 13 hits can best be explained by Columbia (22-30, 56-63) walking seven times in the game. Six of those 13 hits were also extra-base hits. The home run continues to be a recent trend for the Fireflies: Columbia has now blasted a homer in five straight games (a season-long stretch) and 15 over the last 11 games.
The loudest spark of the night, perhaps, occurred in the sixth inning. Hagerstown (21-30, 48-71) reliever David Smith loaded the bases before Zach Rheams stepped to the plate. Rheams crushed Columbia's third grand slam of the season (Quinn Brodey, Gio Alfonzo), a blast that traveled an estimated 439 feet.
Matt Winaker's three-run homer in the opening inning set the tone for the blowout. The dinger was Winaker's 12th of the year - a team-best - and his sixth over the last 11 games. Winaker is now one home run shy of tying the Fireflies single-season mark (13) set by Dash Winningham and Brandon Brosher in 2017). Jay Jabs closed out the home-run barrage with a two-run drive in the seventh. Jabs finished 3-for-5 at the dish with a pair of doubles, the homer and 3 RBI.
Every Firefly hitter reached base at least once and scored at least one run on Saturday. In addition to Rheams and Jabs, Scott Manea (3-for-6, double) and Dionis Paulino (2-for-4, 2 RBI) also posted multi-hit games.
Luc Rennie (W, 3-2) logged seven strong innings and picked up his third win of the year. He bested Suns starter Andrew Lee (L, 4-3), who allowed six runs and did not make it out of the fifth frame.
TOP 1 - Matt Winaker drills a three-run homer. COL 3, HAG 0
BOTTOM 1 - Anderson Franco grounds out to second, scores Cole Freeman from third base. COL 3, HAG 1
BOTTOM 3 - Franco plates a run with a single … Alex Flores doubles in the second run of the inning. COL 3, HAG 3
TOP 4 - Jay Jabs drives a two-out double off of the right-field wall; it scores Jose Brizuela from first base. COL 4, HAG 3
TOP 5 - With the bases loaded, Brizuela knocks in two with a single … Dionis Paulino plates two with a single up the middle. COL 8, HAG 3
TOP 6 - Zach Rheams clobbers an estimated 439-foot grand slam over the right-center field wall. COL 12, HAG 3
BOTTOM 6 - Flores bashes a solo homer, his fifth of the year. COL 12, HAG 4
TOP 7 - Jabs rips his first home run of the season, a two-run blast. COL 14, HAG 4
BOTTOM 9 - Cole Freeman brings in a run when the righty walks with the bases loaded … Franco's sacrifice fly plates Paul Panaccione. COL 14, HAG 6
The series between Columbia and Hagerstown continues on Sunday at 2:05 ET. The pitching matchup features a pair of righties: Nicolas Debora (3-3, 3.02) for the Fireflies and Tomas Alastre (4-6, 5.14) for the Suns.
You can listen to the action on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the iHeartRadio app starting at 1:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.