The Columbia Fireflies offense exploded with five runs in the sixth inning in what turned out to be the difference as the GreenJackets dropped their home opener 7-2 in front of a sold out crowd at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Early on, the game looked like it was going to be a pitcher's duel between DJ Myers of the GreenJackets and Jordan Humphreys of the Fireflies. Each pitcher had a shut out going into the sixth inning. Humphreys was perfect and Myers allowed only one hit and one walk through the five.
"We need to be ready to hit the fastball," said Manager Carlos Valderrama. "At this level, if you want to move on and have success as a hitter, you have to be ready to hit the fastball."
The top of the sixth began with a single by Ali Sanchez. Gene Cone followed with a double advancing Sanchez to third. Luis Carpio singled in Sanchez to break the scoreless tie. Michael Paez followed with another single scoring both Carpio and Cone making it 3-0 and ending the night for Myers whose final totals were four runs off of five hits and five strike outs in five plus innings.
"Pitching wise, we are getting better," said Valderrama. "We have been able to command pitches a lot better. Meyers was tremendous. The first five innings he was unhittable. He seemed to run out of gas in the sixth."
Humphreys lasted seven innings and gave up only one run off of three hits and struck out nine. The GreenJackets ended his bid for a perfect game on a triple by Kevin Rivera with one out in the sixth. He came in to score on a single by Ashford Fulmer to put the GreenJackets on the board.
The GreenJackets will be back in action tomorrow night for game two of the four game series against the Fireflies. First pitch will be at 7:05 PM with the gates opening at 6:00. It is the first Ladies Night and Reading Program Night of the season. Kids 12 and under will be able to run the bases after the game. There will also be a Pre-Game Autograph Session until 6:30 and a Team Poster Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans presented by Augusta University Health.
Cameron Avila-Leeper (0-1, 31.50) will start on the mound for the GreenJackets and Gabriel Llanes (0-0, 4.15) will start for the Fireflies.
The 29th consecutive season of professional baseball in Augusta is underway.
All GreenJackets Ticket Plans (including Full, Half, and Weekend and the all-new 6-Game Flex
Plans) and individual tickets are on sale now for the 2017 season. To guarantee your seats to the most popular games, order your 2017 Ticket Packages today by reaching out to the GreenJackets Front Office at (706) 922-WINS (9467).
To stay up to date during the off season, sign up for the 'Jackets Buzz e-newsletter by visiting
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.