COLUMBIA, SC - The Fireflies walked off for the fourth time this season on Tuesday night at Spirit Communications Park. Scott Manea was hit by pitch with the bases loaded and Hansel Moreno scored the game-winning run. Columbia outlasted Delmarva 9-8 in 10 innings and earned a series split during the four-game installment. The four contests in this series were each decided by just one run.
The home team trailed 6-1 after four and a half innings and then tallied five unanswered runs from the fifth to the eighth. Raphael Gladu doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, extending his on-base streak to 11 games. Blake Tiberi knocked a two-bagger down the left-field line and plated Gladu. While Matt Winaker was at the dish, Tiberi advanced to third on a wild pitch and shortly after scored on another wild throw from Delmarva's pitcher Scott Burke. The Fireflies started to crawl back, down 6-3 after frames.
Edgardo Fermin resumed the rally in the bottom of the sixth. The 19-year-old dropped a bunt single down the first-base line. With one out and Moreno at the plate, two wild pitches occurred which moved Fermin to third base. Eventually, Moreno walked and the Fireflies had runners at first and third. Tiberi drove in Fermin with a single and Moreno wisely used his speed to scurry up to third base on the play. Moments later, Tiberi attempted a delayed steal with Matt Winaker up to bat. Delmarva's catcher Ben Breazeale noticed Moreno was far off the third-base bag and decided throw in that direction. Moreno was in a pickle and dashed towards home. The 21-year-old slid in safely on an error from first baseman Seamus Curran, who tried to cover home plate (ball popped out of his glove). After that drama, Columbia was only behind 6-5.
The Fireflies tied the game in the eighth frame. Gio Alfonzo singled and then ended up at second on a throwing error from relief pitcher Travis Seabrooke. Gladu knocked in Alfonzo with a sharp single into centerfield. Just like that, Columbia erased a five-run deficit and the score was 6-6. This is the second time this season the club has battled back from five runs down and then ultimately rally to win the game.
It was a back and forth 10th inning, which ended in walk-off fashion. The Shorebirds scored two runs in the top of the frame and led 8-6, but the Fireflies immediately responded. Fermin was placed at second base to start the bottom of the 10th, per the new minor league rules. Alfonzo smashed his third hit of the game - a double - down the left-field line and brought in Fermin. Later on, Moreno singled and Gladu was intentionally walked - the bases were loaded. Tiberi drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly, which scored Alfonzo and tied the game. Delmarva's manager Buck Britton decided to intentionally walk another batter, Winaker, and the base were loaded again. Manea's walk-off hit by pitch was the second time he was plunked in the game and league-leading 11th time this season.
Nicolas Debora and Aaron Ford were efficient out of the bullpen and kept the game close. Debora tossed 2.1 scoreless innings and recorded one strikeout. Ford also did not allow a run through 1.1 frames and finished with two strikeouts. This tandem picked up Marcel Renteria , who struggled in his 6th start of the season. The righty absorbed eight hits and five earned runs.
Columbia is off on Wednesday and then begins a four-game series with the Charleston RiverDogs on the road. Game one of that series takes place on Thursday at Joe Riley Park. Tony Dibrell (0-2, 4.50) starts for the Fireflies and JP Sears (0-2, 1.99) is slated to start for the RiverDogs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and you can listen to the action on Fox Sports Radio 1400 AM as well as at ColumbiaFireflies.com. The game is also available to watch on MiLB.tv.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.