ROME, GA - The Fireflies kicked off the final series of the season in style with a 4-2 victory over Rome at State Mutual Stadium. Gabriel Llanes tossed 5.1 fantastic innings and Brandon Brosher provided the necessary dose of offense to lead the visitors to a win.
Brosher's blast came in the sixth inning with Columbia (68-67) ahead, 1-0. The bases were loaded after Quinn Brodey's fly ball was dropped by left fielder Leudys Baez (which allowed the first run to score). Reliever Walt Borkovich (L, 1-1) served a fastball to Brosher that he ripped down the third-base line. The double cleared the bases, and the Fireflies' edge was 4-0.
Rome (71-65) chipped away at the four-run cushion in the bottom of the sixth. Kevin Josephina walked and moved to second on Cristian Pache's single. Drew Lugbauer slugged a base hit to center that brought in Josephina.
This proved to be the lone run Llanes (W, 6-11) surrendered in 5.1 innings. The righty allowed just one run in a start for the first time since May 10. Ryder Ryan and Matt Pobereyko kept Columbia ahead with 2.2 scoreless innings of work.
Rome plated one unearned run against Matt Blackham (S, 8) in the ninth, but the rally was too little, too late. Blackham - the newly named August SAL-BC Relief Pitcher of the Month - has not allowed an earned run in 26.2 consecutive innings.
The series continues on Saturday from State Mutual Stadium at 6:00 p.m. Columbia trots southpaw Jose C. Medina (1-0, 1.04) out to the mound to face Rome right-hander Jeremy Walker (6-11, 4.12).
You can listen to the action on ESPN Columbia 94.9 FM and 1230 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app starting at 5:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.