Columbia, SC - Juan Soto set a career-high with six RBIs to help the Hagerstown Suns defeat the Columbia Fireflies 9-3 on Tuesday evening. The Suns are 2-4 overall and will play the rubber match of the three-game set with Columbia on Wednesday evening with a 7:05 PM first pitch at Spirit Communications Park.
The first two innings of Tuesday night's game were quiet on offense, but the Hagerstown bats broke through in the third against Fireflies starter Marcel Renteria. Armond Upshaw was hit by a pitch and went to second when Cole Freeman laid down a sacrifice bunt. Freeman reached on an error, which also allowed Upshaw to go to third on the play. Yasel Antuna doubled to center, scoring Upshaw and sending Freeman to third. Soto singled to center to plate both Freeman and Antuna, giving the Suns a 3-0 lead.
Columbia answered in the bottom of the fourth against Suns starter Brigham Hill with a run of their own. With two outs, Scott Manea walked and went to second when Quinn Brodey singled to right. Rigoberto Terrazas singled to center, scoring Manea and moving Brodey to second. Both runners advanced a base when Hill threw a wild pitch, but the righty struck out Raphael Gladu to end the inning with the Suns still staked to a 3-1 advantage.
Hagerstown improved their lead in the fifth against Renteria and Fireflies reliever Cannon Chadwick. With one out, Antuna walked and Soto hit a towering home run to center field. The prospect's third long-ball of the season traveled 431 feet and gave the Suns a 5-1 lead.
The Fireflies fired back in the bottom of the inning against Hill and Ben Braymer. Giovanny Alfonzo reached on an error and went to second when Jay Jabs walked. With one out, Hill threw a wild pitch that moved both runners up and Blake Tiberi singled to center, scoring Alfonzo and sending Jabs to third. Braymer entered the game for Hill in the 5-2 game and gave up a single to Matt Winaker that drove in Jabs. Braymer struck out the next two batters to end the inning with the Suns still ahead 5-3.
The Suns greeted Columbia reliever Darwin Ramos by extending their lead in the seventh. Soto walked with one out and went to second when Garcia received a two-out free pass. A wild pitch put Soto on third and Antuna on second and both scored when Kameron Esthay singled to center, giving the Suns a 7-3 lead.
Hagerstown capped off their scoring in the eighth inning with a pair of runs against Ramos. Upshaw singled with one away and was thrown out at second base when Freeman grounded into a fielder's choice. Antuna singled to right, moving Freeman to second and Soto drove in his fifth and sixth RBIs on a double to right. The Suns went on to earn their second win of the season, 9-3.
Hill went 4.1 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a no decision. Braymer (1-0) tossed 3.2 innings in relief, holding Columbia scoreless with one hit and five strikeouts. Jeremy McKinney pitched the ninth, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
Notes: Soto eclipsed his previous career-high of four RBIs, which he set two days ago with four… He also had his second multi-hit game of the year… He's homered to every field this season… Antuna had his second multi-hit game of the season… Nick Banks had his first multi-hit game of the year… Esthay had his first multi-RBI game of 2018… He's also had a hit in three consecutive games… Upshaw also has a three-game hit streak… Banks tied a career-high with two walks… The Suns scored a season-high nine runs… The pitching staff struck out a season-high 13 batters… The Suns will look to take the rubber match on Tuesday against the Fireflies with a 7:05 PM first pitch at Spirit Communications Park… Hagerstown will send LHP Nick Raquet (0-1, 5.40 ERA) to the mound against Columbia RHP Tony Dibrell (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on Wednesday…
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.