COLUMBIA, SC - Pitchers around the South Atlantic League still haven't figured out the hot-hitting Blake Tiberi . Columbia's second baseman recorded another hit and RBI in Tuesday's 9-3 loss to Hagerstown. Tiberi is batting .480 (12-for-25) and has reached base safely in all six games to begin the year.
Tiberi and the Fireflies offense had trouble keeping pace with Juan Soto and the Suns, though. The 19-year-old Nationals prospect finished a triple shy of the cycle and knocked in an eye-popping six runs. The Suns already held a 3-1 advantage when Soto crushed a 434-foot two-run home run over the center-field wall at Spirit Communications Park in the fifth frame.
The prior inning, Rigoberto Terrazas got the home team on the board with an RBI single. Thanks to Soto's blast, Columbia (3-3) needed a response. And that's exactly what occurred in the bottom of the fifth. Tiberi and Matt Winaker laced consecutive run-scoring base hits.
A Gio Alfonzo single in the bottom of the ninth inning would be only other piece of offense for the Fireflies. Meanwhile, Hagerstown (2-4) scored a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth frames to pad its lead to six runs.
Ben Braymer picked up his first victory of the season after posting 3.2 shutout innings (with just one hit allowed). Columbia's starter - Marcel Renteria - struck out six in 4.1 innings, but was handed the loss.
The Fireflies and Suns play their series finale on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Tony Dibrell (4 scoreless innings, 6 Ks on Thursday) is expected to start for Columbia and face Hagerstown's lefty, Nick Raquet (0-1, 5.40). The action can be heard on FOX Sports Radio 1400 or on the iHeartRadio app.
Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the park on Wednesday as part of Trash-the-Poop Wag-Along Wednesday. Tickets can be purchased at FirefliesTickets.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.