COLUMBIA, SC - Starter Merandy Gonzalez is now 4-0 in four starts after he led Columbia to a 5-0 shut-out victory over Asheville on Wednesday afternoon. The right-hander has hurled 28.1 consecutive scoreless innings to begin the 2017 season. Gonzalez is the only starter in all of professional baseball (MLB & MiLB) with a 4-0 record and 0.00 ERA.
Gonzalez is now approaching a South Atlantic League record. The longest consecutive scoreless inning streak belongs to Ted Carson (39.2). The right-hander accomplished that feat as a member of the Savannah Cardinals in 1984. On Wednesday, Gonzalez logged 7.2 innings - matching his career-high - scattered five hits and struck out five. In those 28.1 IP this season, the righty has allowed just 15 hits and three walks.
Three times on Wednesday Gonzalez worked out of jams with runners in scoring position. Reliver Matt Blackham pitched the final 1.1 innings, striking out two and allowing just one batter to reach. Columbia (12-9) posted its sixth shut-out win of the year - the most in all of professional baseball - and took two out of three games from Asheville (10-11).
Not to be forgotten, Tim Tebow recorded his third multi-hit game in just six days. The outfielder is 9-for-20 (.450) at the plate during that span with three runs scored, three doubles and a triple.
Tebow and the offense ignited in the second frame. Jay Jabs walked to begin the inning and then Tebow singled off of starter Brandon Gold (L, 1-2). Jose Medina's base hit loaded the bags. Ali Sanchez then flew out to centerfield, which allowed Jabs to tag and score. Gene Cone's double to the left-center field alley plated two more and the home team jumped up, 3-0.
Michael Paez - who had doubled in the first inning - smashed his second home run of the year in the third, extending the Fireflies' lead to 4-0.
Tebow's first triple came in the sixth. The lefty pulled a fastball down the right-field line and wound up at third. Medina whacked a base hit and Tebow scored.
The Fireflies and Hickory Crawdads begin a four-game series at L.P. Frans Stadium on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Columbia throws right-handed starter Colin Holderman (1-1, 3.46) to counter Hickory righty Michael Matuella (0-0, 0.00)
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.