COLUMBIA, SC - The Fireflies won with pitching this week against Augusta. Columbia allowed just five runs in the three-game series at Segra Park with a 5-2 victory on Thursday punctuating the series win. The Fireflies held the GreenJackets to run totals of two, two and one the last three nights.
On Thursday, Simeon Woods-Richardson (W, 2-8) was the star on the mound. Columbia's (11-10, 35-52) starter roared out of the gates by retiring the first seven Augusta (11-10, 47-42) batters he faced. The right-hander allowed just one run in five innings and struck out six compared to one walk. Thursday was his second win of the season.
It's worth pointing out the right-hander has only had the chance to win on four occasions this year. Thursday was just the fourth time Woods-Richardson pitched as many as five frames, but that's due to the Mets' strict pitch limit on the 18-year-old phenom. The right-hander has dazzled of late and owns a 2.20 ERA over his last seven starts.
The starting pitching in general was dominant this week against the GreenJackets. Christian James (6.2 IP on Tuesday), Tylor Megill (5 IP on Wednesday) and Woods-Richardson all logged five or more innings and each surrendered just one run. The starter's ERA in the series was 1.62.
The Fireflies jumped on the board quickly with a first-inning home run. Lead-off batter Walter Rasquin took Gregory Santos (L, 1-5) deep on the third pitch of the at-bat. It was Rasquin's first homer of the season and first since August 28, 2018. The visitors tied the score in the third when Ismael Munguia drove in Jett Manning with a base hit. Augusta's offense never truly threatened again the remainder of the night.
That's because Columbia's big inning immediately followed in the bottom of the third. The first three hitters reached against Santos. Gerson Molina first walked and then Rasquin and Ronny Mauricio struck back to back singles. The bases were loaded for Mark Vientos .
Vientos bashed a hard ground ball towards his counterpart, Orlando Garcia. Augusta's third baseman yanked his mitt up too soon attempting to field and the ball rolled into left. The error allowed two runners to score and some. GreenJackets left fielder Zander Clarke picked up the roller and fired home trying to throw Rasquin out at the plate. His throw was on target but the ball ricocheted off of Rasquin's bat and kicked towards the first-base dugout. The third runner, Mauricio, noticed and dashed home to score. The bases cleared thanks to a pair of errors on the same play.
Three batters later the red-hot Hayden Senger stepped to the plate with Vientos standing at third. His base hit gave the home team a 5-1 advantage. Senger extended his hit streak to a season-best 10 games in a row.
The GreenJackets made a little noise in the seventh, but it proved to be just a whimper. Anyesber Sivira knocked in a run with a base hit before Columbia relievers Jake Simon and Briam Campusano struck out the next two hitters to retire the side.
Allan Winans (S, 5) hurled a scoreless ninth and has now converted three straight saves in his last three appearances.
On Friday, Segra Park welcomes its one millionth fan. Every fan who attends Friday's series opener against Charleston will have a chance to win one million dollars, with one lucky grand prize contestant having the chance to win the cash on the field postgame.
First pitch for the game will be at 7:05 ET with righty Willy Taveras (5-7, 5.38) scheduled to face RiverDogs right-hander Roansy Contreras (6-5, 4.48). You can watch the game at MiLB.TV.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.