COLUMBIA, SC - Justin Brantley was brilliant for the Fireflies on the mound Monday night. Columbia knocked down Charleston, 6-4, in front of 3,276 fans at Spirit Communications Park. This brings the total attendance to 261,691 this year, breaking the record from the 2016 campaign (261,276). There are still 13 scheduled home games remaining during the regular season.
Brantley (W, 1-0) dominated through a career-long seven innings (96 pitches) in just the fifth start of his professional career. The New York native allowed only four hits, one unearned run, and did not walk a batter. Columbia (18-25, 58-53) transitioned the 26-year-old into a starter after 76 bullpen appearances during the first three years of his career.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Ian Strom crushed a solo home run off Charleston's starter Nick Green (L, 7-8). It was the 22-year-old's first long ball of his young minor league career. The Fireflies and RiverDogs were tied, 1-1, after two frames.
The home team displayed an offensive explosion and tallied five runs in the third stanza. With one out, Andres Gimenez was hit by pitch and then J.J. Franco earned a walk. The next batter, Jacob Zanon , hit a soft dribbler that hugged the chalk of the third-base line and was a fair ball. Columbia had the bases loaded with one of its hottest hitters at the plate. Strom smashed a line drive into left field and scored Gimenez. The Massachusetts native now has 14 hits over his previous eight games.
Moments later, Dan Rizzie produced a two-run single and then Arnaldo Berrios put the icing on the cake in the third frame. Berrios drove in the fifth run of the inning and the Fireflies held a 6-1 advantage. Strom and Rizzie were responsible for five of the club's 11 hits in this game.
Charleston's offense woke up with one out in the ninth inning. Oswaldo Cabrera launched a three-run homer off relief pitcher Cam Griffin and cut Columbia's lead to just two runs. After yielding that home run, Griffin settled down and retired the next two batters to end the contest.
The Fireflies collide with the Charleston RiverDogs for game two of this series on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park. Righty Darwin Ramos (2-4, 4.64) is scheduled to make the start for Columbia. Freicer Perez (7-3, 2.95) is on the mound for Charleston.
You can listen to the action on ESPN Columbia 94.9 FM and 1230 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 6:45 p.m. You can also watch the game live on MiLB.tv.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.