ASHEVILLE, NC - Thirteen runs. Twenty-three hits. Three lead changes. Four ties. Saturday night in Asheville had it all, including a 7-6 Fireflies victory over the Tourists. Columbia scored three runs in the top of the ninth - erasing a one-run deficit in the process - and picked up its sixth win of the season. The game was emotionally charged and nine of the game's 13 runs were scored in the final five half-innings (with at least one run scoring in all five).
Columbia (6-4) had just tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the eighth (Rigoberto Terrazas scored from third base on a double-play ball off of Jeremy Vasquez's bat) only to see Asheville (2-8) re-take a one run advantage with a home run in the home half (Sean Bouchard's first of the year). The question was, did the Fireflies have one more rally left in the tank?
Walter Rasquin led off the top of the ninth by reaching on an error. Then Dan Rizzie slashed a base hit up the middle into center field. As Rasquin headed to second, Asheville centerfielder Steven Linkous booted the baseball 15 yards to his right. As he chased down the baseball, Rasquin whizzed around third and scored, tying the game. Rizzie wound up at second and later in the inning moved to third on a passed ball.
Edgardo Fermin stepped to the plate, just two days removed from his 10th-inning heroics on Thursday night. The shortstop smoked his league-best fourth triple into left-center, scoring Rizzie in the process. Fermin would tag and score moments later on Terrazas' sacrifice fly.
Th visitors needed all three of those runs. Trey Cobb - who picked up his second save of the year - allowed a solo home run to Bret Boswell before bearing down and striking out a pair, including Hidekel Gonzalez to end the game.
Pedro Lopez's batting order proved once again just how balanced it is. Eight of Columbia's nine batters hit safely on Saturday - five actually recording multi-hit games. Quinn Brodey finished with a pair of hits; the centerfielder now has six in the series.
The Fireflies jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the second on Rasquin's RBI double. The Tourists tied the score in the home half, but fell behind again in the sixth. That frame, Vasquez drove in a pair when he clanged a towering shot off the wall in right. His single scored Terrazas and Blake Tiberi (who reached base three times on Saturday).
Asheville plated three in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead at the time. Two of those runs scored against Anthony Kay who pitched into that seventh. The 2016 Mets first round draft choice scattered just four hits, allowed three runs and struck out five in his second professional start.
Joshua Payne (W, 2-0) picked up the win while Tommy Doyle (L, 1-2) was dealt his second loss of the season.
Columbia starts right-hander Chris Viall (0-0, 2.25) on Sunday in the series finale against the Tourists. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. and the home team is expected to counter righty Antonio Santos (0-1, 3.97).
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.