COLUMBIA, SC - Fireflies outfielder Jay Jabs socked his sixth homer of the season on Tuesday, but Columbia fell to Charleston, 5-2. The game was tight in the early innings and the home team trailed by just a run as late as the sixth inning. The RiverDogs pulled away, though, with two late-inning scores. The clubs have split the first two games of the series.
J.J. Franco also had a fine evening. The son of New York Mets Hall of Fame closer John Franco singled twice and reached base safely three times on Tuesday. Columbia's (58-54) infielder has reached safely 13 times over his last five games.
The scoring started in the top of the second. Steven Sensley smoked a solo home run over the right-field wall to put the visitors ahead 1-0. Later in the frame, Pablo Olivares walked and scooted to second on Eduardo Navas' single. Olivares scored moments later after a Fireflies throwing error.
Jabs awoke in the bottom half of the frame. The lefty drilled his sixth home run of the season off of Charleston (62-52) starter Freicer Perez (W, 8-3).
The teams traded runs again in the third. The RiverDogs pulled ahead, 3-1, but only briefly. After Andres Gimenez and Franco ripped back-to-back singles, Ian Strom stepped into the batter's box. The righty had already reached base safely in the first - extending his on-base streak to 10 games in a row - and grounded a pitch to Charleston shortstop Diego Castillo. The RiverDogs attempted to turn two, which would have ended the inning, but Strom beat out the return throw to first. Gimenez scored, and the Fireflies were back within one.
Columbia's offense cooled the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the visitors added two more runs, the first coming in the seventh when Dalton Blaser doubled in Oswaldo Cabrera. Later, Castillo tagged from third base and scored in the ninth inning on an Isiah Gilliam sacrifice fly.
Darwin Ramos (L, 0-2) allowed just two earned runs over five innings in his first start as a Firefly, but took the loss.
Right-hander Harol Gonzalez (8-8, 3.74) starts for Columbia in the rubber game of the series and toes the rubber against RiverDogs righty Nick Nelson (2-8, 4.81). The two Southern Division foes get started at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday from Spirit Communications Park.
You can watch the action on MiLB.tv starting at 7:00 p.m. or listen in on ESPN Columbia 94.9 FM and 1230 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and on the TuneIn 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.