SALISBURY, MD - Dash Winningham has been in a zone at the plate lately. Columbia's first baseman socked a home run and drove in a pair on Thursday, leading his club to a 7-4 victory over the Shorebirds.
Winningham finished 2-for-4 at the plate on Thursday and has tallied six hits and eight RBIs over his last three games.
It looked like Delmarva (15-18) would take command of the game early after Jake Ring scored on a Preston Palmeiro single in the first. That wouldn't be the case.
Winningham led off the second inning with the home run. It was a bullet over the right-field fence, the first baseman's third of the season. Columbia (17-16) later scored three more with two outs in the frame. After Ali Sanchez singled, Milton Ramos doubled past the left fielder Gerrion Grim. The baseball wound up against the wall and Sanchez scored. Gene Cone walked, and then he and Ramos moved into scoring position after a passed ball. Andres Gimenez's single to left plated the pair. The Fireflies were up, 4-1.
The visitors stretched their lead in the fourth. Sanchez and Ramos replicated what they did in the second and bashed back-to-back singles. Cone's base hit scored one and later in the frame, a passed ball allowed Ramos to score. This was when Delmarva starter Zach Muckenhirn (L, 1-3) really started to unravel. The Fireflies would soon load the bases and Winningham's sacrifice fly helped Columbia take a 7-1 lead.
The Shorebirds quickly responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, but that was it off of starter Merandy Gonzalez (W, 5-1). Relievers Matt Blackham and Adonis Uceta (S, 3) would allow just one other run on Thursday evening. Ring knocked in Irving Ortega with a single in the seventh. Then Delmarva's offense dried up.
The Fireflies have won three in a row and can take the four-game series with just one win on Friday. Columbia and Delmarva will play a doubleheader (two seven-inning games) starting at 5:05 p.m.
You can listen to the action on ESPN Columbia 94.9 FM and 1230 AM, ColumbiaFireflies.com and the TuneIn Radio app at 4:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.