ASHEVILLE, NC - A quartet of Fireflies pitchers struck out a season-high 12 batters on Friday night, but Asheville bested the visiting club, 5-1, at McCormick Field. Columbia's pitching staff has now punched out 91 hitters through nine games, the second-best total in the league.
Friday's game began with starter Jake Simon (L, 0-2) striking out the first four Tourists hitters. He wound up fanning seven but ran into some trouble in the second and fourth frames. First it was Casey Golden who scored the game's first run on an error in the bottom of the second. Simon escaped that inning with just one run's damage, but then allowed a two-run home run to Chad Spanberger in the fourth. Asheville (2-7) added one more later in the frame when Matt McLaughlin plated Golden with a single.
Columbia (5-4) sliced into the 4-0 deficit in the sixth. With one out, Raphael Gladu laced a single off of starter Garrett Schilling (W, 1-0). Gladu stole second base and sprinted to third on Matt WInaker's base hit. Moments later, Jeremy Vasquez found the wall in right field with a sizzling base hit. His laser scored Gladu. Vasquez has now driven in a team-best six runs in nine games.
That would be all the scoring for Columbia on Friday. Asheville was quick to answer offensively, too. In the bottom of the sixth Bret Boswell ripped a solo home run to put the home team back ahead by four.
Simon was dealt the lose, but only allowed two earned runs over five innings of challenging work.
Columbia faces Asheville on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. from McCormick Field. Mets 2016 first round draft choice Anthony Kay is expected to make his second start of the year and face Tourists right-hander Will Gaddis (0-0, 3.18). Kay, a southpaw, did not allow an earned run in his first start against Augusta on Sunday.
Fans can listen to the game on FOX Sports Radio 1400 AM in Columbia or through the TuneIn app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.