COLUMBIA, SC - Jose Moreno delivered yet another scoreless relief outing for Columbia on Wednesday night. The right-handed fireballer inherited runners at the corners with two outs in the sixth inning. Moreno put the situation to bed immediately by striking out Matt Whatley. The Fireflies stopper dodged danger again an inning later in a nearly identical situation. This time around Moreno needed two outs to leave the two men on base. He did so in short order, striking out Hickory's four and five hitters on eight total pitches.
Wednesday's shutout performance is the most recent of several such outings for Moreno. Since returning from the Injured List on July 27th, The 23-year-old has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings. Moreno's 0.64 ERA during that span is tied for the second-lowest in the league among pitchers with at least 10 appearances. Moreno is also tied for the most relief appearances (12) in the South Atlantic League during that timeframe.
Unfortunately for Columbia (28-37), Moreno was far and away the brightest star in a 7-0 loss to Hickory (39-25). Wednesday's defeat was the third shutout loss to the Crawdads this season. Additionally, it was the largest margin of defeat to Hickory since August 11, 2017, when the Fireflies fell 15-2 to their cross-division rivals.
Cole Winn (4-4) set the tone on the rubber for the Crawdads. The former first-round pick allowed just four hits in a career-high seven scoreless innings. The Colorado native worked efficiently as well. 60 of Winn's 80 pitches were strikes.
Of course, Winn was helped by a 14-hit performance from his offense. The righty left the seventh inning with a three-run lead. A three-run jack by Pedro Gonzalez later, the game was out of reach and Winn was no longer needed.
Columbia plays at Segra Park for the final time on Thursday. The Fireflies will host the Crawdads once again to round out 2019's home schedule. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET, with gates opening at 6:00 ET.
Thursday is also a jam-packed promotional night at Segra Park. Not only is it a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday, it will also be Grateful Dead Night. $1 Bud Lights will be available all evening at the Budweiser Bowtie Bar, and half-priced drafts will be available throughout the park. The first 1,000 fans to enter Thursday's contest will each receive a free Grateful Dead T-shirt. There will also be a pre-game concert by Stillhouse from 6:30-7:40 p.m. at the Budweiser Bowtie Bar. Additionally, Fireflies players will be sporting Dead-themed jerseys. The uniforms will be auctioned off to fans, with proceeds going towards Columbia River Keeper.
But wait, there's more!
Thursday evening is USC Student Life Night at Segra Park. University of South Carolina students are eligible for a free Bojangles Berm ticket with a valid student ID. Upon entrance, students will receive a meal voucher for a hot dog, chips, and a fountain soda.
Tickets for Thursday night's contest are available at FirefliesTickets.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.