COLUMBIA, SC - Sunday's tilt started favorably for the Fireflies. Mets 2016 first round draft pick Anthony Kay struck out four over four innings in his first professional start and Blake Tiberi (with a pair of RBIs) helped Columbia jump out to an early 5-2 lead. Augusta sprinted to the finish line, though, and eventually won, 10-5. The Fireflies and GreenJackets split the opening four-game series of the season.
Kay's highly-anticipated outing was his first official start since June of 2016 (his final collegiate start as a Connecticut Huskie). Eighteen months after his Tommy John surgery, the New York native struck out the first two hitters of the game - two of his four punchouts. Kay surrendered just one earned run and wound up hurling 82 pitches.
Meanwhile, Tiberi notched his second three-hit game in just four days. The second baseman is now 8-for-16 at the dish with three RBIs.
He plated one of the three first-inning Firefly runs. Raphael Gladu drove in another. Columbia (2-2) raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first and later built a 5-2 advantage with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Tiberi and Matt Winaker laced back-to-back run-scoring singles in that frame.
The home team mustered just two hits (both in the ninth inning) the rest of the way. Franklin Van Gurp (W, 1-0) and Frank Rubio silenced the Fireflies bats from the fourth inning on. Augusta (2-2) scored eight unanswered runs from the sixth to the ninth and reliever Stephen Villines (L, 0-1) was charged with the loss.
The offensive star for the GreenJackets was Jacob Gonzalez - Luis's son. The 19-year-old tallied three hits (including a double), three runs and an RBI.
In the other dugout, Edgardo Fermin (2-for-5, 3B, R) and Winaker (2-for-4, RBI, BB) each recorded multi-hit games.
Columbia begins a three-game series with the Hagerstown Suns on Monday at 7:05 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park. Right-hander Chris Viall is expected to make his first start of the season and face lefty Jackson Stoeckinger for the Suns.
Tune into the action on MiLB.TV or on FOX Sports Radio 1400 in Columbia.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.