HAGERSTOWN, Md. - South Atlantic League home run leader Daniel Johnson put the Suns (32-21) ahead for good with a two-run homer in the bottom of the third and a huge crowd at Municipal Stadium urged Hagerstown to a 3-2 win over the Columbia Fireflies (27-24).
A crowd of 6,217 packed into the 87-year-old ballpark for Tim Tebow's first visit to Hagerstown. The 29-year-old Fireflies left fielder, playing his first full season of professional baseball, finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles.
Columbia took a 2-0 in the third after Tebow scored on a two-run homer by Desmond Lindsay, but the Suns rallied for three runs in the bottom of the frame. Blake Perkins pulled a double to right field, scoring Telmito Agustin from second base, and Johnson followed two batters later with his eleventh home run of the year.
Johnson tallied the only multi-hit game for the Suns, finishing 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Columbia starter Gary Cornish (Loss, 0-1) struck out six Suns, but the three-run third cost him a win in his season debut.
Johnson made a dazzling defensive play in the fourth. Fireflies cleanup hitter Dash Winningham tried to stretch his single into a double, but the gifted right fielder grabbed the ball off the wall with his bare hand and threw a strike to second base, where shortstop Paul Panaccione applied the tag.
A pair of Hagerstown pitchers named Mills combined for nine innings. Starter McKenzie Mills (Win, 5-2) picked up his team-leading fifth victory of the season after striking out five 'Flies in six innings and Jordan Mills (Save, 4) allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings. The relief ace worked around a hit-by-pitch and a passed ball in the top of the ninth to strand the tying runner at second base.
The four-game series in downtown Hagerstown continues on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Right-handed starter James Bourque (1-3, 4.87) goes to the mound first against the Fireflies. The Suns are expecting record-breaking crowds throughout the weekend. VIP seats are sold out for the series and only a few reserved seats and general admission tickets are still available.
The Suns recommend buying tickets online and printing them at home through HagerstownSuns.com. Any ticket holders using Municipal Stadium Will Call during game days this weekend are encouraged to pick up their tickets at least 90 minutes before first pitch.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.