COLUMBIA, SC - Columbia shortstop Ronny Mauricio was the star of the show for the Fireflies on Saturday night. The 18-year-old smacked three hits on the evening and fell just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Mauricio's performance, however, was not enough to propel his team to victory. Columbia ultimately fell to the Legends, 6-2.
Lexington (36-32) entered play on Saturday a half-game out of the division lead. They needed a win against Columbia (24-41) as well as losses from both Augusta and Charleston to claim sole possession of first place.
The Legends wasted no time pursuing that dream scenario. Lexington landed the initial punch in the game thanks to an RBI single from Freddy Fermin in the top of the first. The run came off of Columbia starter Bryce Hutchinson (L, 2-4). Hutchinson, typically a reliever, was making his second start of the 2019 season.
Columbia struck back in the bottom of the third. Mauricio led off the inning with a bloop single into center field, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored when Hansel Moreno reached on an infield hit , prompting an errant throw from Lexington second baseman Brhet Bewley .
The Legends reclaimed the advantage a half inning later, plating a combined three runs on RBI base hits from Jeison Guzman and Michael Gigliotti. Hutchinson was removed during the frame and was replaced by right-handed reliver Allan Winans .
Columbia managed to push another run across in the fifth. Mauricio registered his third hit of the day on a triple into the right-center gap. He scored a batter later when Moreno punched a fly ball deep into left. The catch was made on the play, but Mauricio was able to tag from third and advance home. It was the final run scored by the Fireflies during the game.
Perhaps the only position player that outplayed Mauricio on Saturday was Lexington's Guzman. The shortstop recorded a hit in all four of his plate appearances, including a run-scoring triple in the top of the sixth. The Legends paired that run with another an inning later on an RBI single from Eric Cole.
Lexington let their bullpen take over from there. Kyle Hinton and Daniel James held the Fireflies scoreless over the last 3.1 innings. The pair worked together to allow just one Columbia hit from the seventh inning on.
The Legends secured the win and had a little luck elsewhere in the league as well. Augusta fell to Rome, 3-2, and Charleston dropped their contest against Greenville, 5-1. Lexington leapfrogged into first place as a result. A win tomorrow or a loss by either Augusta or Charleston would give the defending SAL champs the first half division title and a guaranteed spot in the 2019 postseason.
Columbia concludes the first half on Sunday with the series finale against Lexington. The Fireflies send Simeon Woods-Richardson (1-6, 5.36) to the hill against Legends starter Jon Heasley (5-3, 2.76). Woods-Richardson has logged 10 straight shutout-innings over his last two starts. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 ET. You can watch at MiLB.TV or listen at FireFliesLivestream.com
Sunday is also Father's Day at Segra Park. Dads get in the game for free, and will receive a voucher for a free 16oz domestic draft beer upon entry. The Fireflies will be hosting a special "Father's Day catch" on the field prior to the game. The catch is scheduled from 12:30 to 1:00, but scheduling is subject to change. You can also purchase a Father's Day themed hat from the Mason Jar team store on Sunday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.