COLUMBIA, SC -Chandler Avant entered Thursday night's game against Lexington with zero home runs as a Firefly. In fact, the Alabama native's only prior homer as a Mets farmhand occurred on August 10th of 2018. Avant was playing in short-season Brooklyn at the time.
While the bomb was a compelling moment during the evening, the blast was not enough to overpower Lexington. The Fireflies ultimately fell to the Legends, 10-5.
Columbia (24-39) struck first in the contest. First baseman Chase Chambers led off the second inning with a walk and Shervyen Newton doubled behind him. Right fielder Brian Sharp singled two batters later, plating Chambers from third. Newton scored after Lexington (34-32) starter Jonathan Bowlan was forced into a balk. The miscue was prompted by an early attempt at a steal of second base by Taylor Lane .
Joy would turn into concern a half inning later when Fireflies starter Colin Holderman exited the game with an apparent injury to his throwing arm. Holderman would be relieved by right-hander Alec Kisena (L, 0-2).
After the pitching change, Lexington and Columbia traded blows for the next three innings. The Legends tallied a pair of runs in the top of the third on a double from Nathan Eaton. The Fireflies answered a half inning later on Avant's homer, and added another run in the fourth when Ronny Mauricio drove in Sharp on an infield single.
The top of the fifth proved to be the turning point in the game. The Legends batted around in the frame, and brought home four runs on five hits to take a 6-4 lead. Columbia would get a run back in the bottom half of the inning, but never managed to retake the advantage.
While the game's final result was not what the home crowd was hoping for, the Fireflies loss was outshined by a touching moment in the middle of the fifth. Thursday was Stand Up To Cancer Night at Segra Park. Players and fans alike were given the opportunity to honor loved ones who have fought the disease by writing a name of their choosing on commemorative placards. Both teams and attendees joined together during the between-inning break to recognize the survivors and lost ones recognized on the signs. It was a brief, yet beautiful point that transcended a baseball game.
Bottom 2: Brian Sharp singles to left, Chase Chambers scores…Jonathan Bowlan balks on the mound, Shervyen Newton scores. COL 2, LEX 0
Top 3: Nathan Eaton doubles, Michael Gigliotti and Rubendy Jaquez score. COL 2, LEX 2
Bottom 3: Chandler Avant hits a solo home run into left. COL 3, LEX 2
Bottom 4: Ronny Mauricio reaches on an infield single, Brian Sharp scores from third. COL 4, LEX 2
Top 5: Eaton singles through the middle, Gigliotti scores…Eric Cole singles, Eaton scores…Reed Rohlman singles to right, Freddy Fermin scores…Jeison Guzman is retired on a sacrifice fly to center, Cole tags from third and scores. LEX 6, COL 4
Bottom 5: Gerson Molina doubles down the left field line, Chase Chambers scores from first. LEX 6, COL 5
Top 7: Fermin blasts a solo shot into left….Guzman singles into left , Cole scores. LEX 8, COL 5
Top 8: Eaton is retired on a sacrifice fly to left, Gigliotti tags from third and scores…Cole doubles to right, Fermin scores. LEX 10, COL 5
Columbia will continue its series against Lexington on Friday. The Fireflies will send RHP Christian James (2-4, 4.39) to the hill against Legends LHP Austin Cox (4-3, 3.07). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET. You can watch at MiLB.TV or listen at FireFliesLivestream.com.
Friday is also a Blue Cross Blue Shield #LiveFearlessSCFriday at Segra Park . A fireworks show will follow the conclusion of the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.