COLUMBIA, SC - The Fireflies collected their fifth straight win with an emphatic smashing of Greenville on Thursday. Columbia tallied 17 hits and cruised past the Drive, 12-5. The Fireflies recorded three homers and seven total extra-base hits, both tying season highs.
The 12 runs are a new season high, too. Thursday was arguably the most prolific offensive performance of the year with the first seven hitters in the Fireflies order posting multi-hit games. Eight of the nine batters hit safely in the big win.
Mark Vientos, Brian Sharp and Chase Chambers were the home run hitters on Thursday. Vientos is one home run shy of tying the franchise mark (13) and his 58 RBI are 12 short of the single-season benchmark.
Ironically enough, it was Greenville (17-28, 49-66) who scored first and in the opening inning, no less. Tyler Esplin plated Everlouis Lozada with a base hit.
The Fireflies wasted little time with a response. In fact, the club responded immediately in the home half of the first. It looked as if Columbia (21-25, 45-67) was going to waste Ronny Mauricio's lead-off single. That was until Chambers poked a base hit with two outs. Mauricio scored a few moments later on Jose Medina's double into the right-center field gap. And Chambers, too. The two-run double was Medina's seventh on the season.
Shervyen Newton then plated Medina with a single of his own up the middle. The Fireflies led, 3-1, after one.
A similar scenario played out two frames later. Kole Cottam scored a run for Greenville in the top of third before Columbia answered once more in the bottom half. This time Vientos launched a 420-foot mammoth home run over the center field wall that gave the home team a 4-2 advantage.
Then the Fireflies further distanced themselves from Greenville with seven runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Columbia knocked out Drive starter Chris Machamer (L, 4-8) with a whirlwind of hits in the fourth. At one point, the home team tallied four straight hits. Sharp got things cooking with an RBI triple down the left-field line. He scored on Vientos' double, who then scored himself after Chambers singled up the middle. Once Machamer walked Newton, his night was done.
Reliever Devon Fisher was called upon from Greenville's bullpen and proceeded to hit the first batter his faced, Hayden Senger . That brought in the frame's fourth run. Fisher retired the next two to escape the jam.
Fisher's troubles were just getting started. It appeared the Drive had wiggled back into the game with a pair of solo home runs in the top of the fifth. Columbia quickly dashed the visitors' optimism with two dingers of its own in the bottom half. First, Sharp cleared the left-field wall and two hitters later Chambers yanked a solo blast out to right.
The scoring continued two innings later when Senger drilled a base hit down the left-field line. His single scored Medina and the Fireflies took a 12-4 lead to the eighth. Greenville scored once more in the eighth but that was all.
Jose Moreno (W, 1-2) pitched a scoreless 1.2 frames and collected his first win as a Firefly.
The Glowstock weekend continues at Segra Park on Friday evening. There will be another pregame band playing at the Budweiser Bow Tie Bar. Fans can enjoy Seventy Six and Sunny from 6-7 ET. First pitch for game two of the series is set for 7:05 ET with right-hander Christian James (3-8, 4.24) taking the ball for the Fireflies. Greenville sends righty Kevin Biondic (4-4, 3.75) to the bump.
You can watch the action at MiLB.TV.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.