SALISBURY, MD - After a long rain delay, the Columbia Fireflies restarted their offense most effectively, beating the Delmarva Shorebirds 7-4 on Thursday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
Originally scheduled as a doubleheader at 6:05 p.m., incliment weather forced a delay of 2:21, and the teams instead played one nine-inning game with the twin bill rescheduled for Friday.
Merandy Gonzalez (5-1) earned the win and got some revenge after last week's shellacking against Delmarva, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings, walking one and striking out seven. Zach Muckenhirn (1-3) took the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings. Adonis Uceta picked up his third save after getting the final seven outs of the game.
The Shorebirds (15-18) struck first in the bottom of the first inning as Jake Ring lashed his league-leading 13th double of the season down the right field line. Preston Palmeiro then plated Ring on a line-drive single to left, making it 1-0.
Dash Winningham tied it on the first pitch of the second inning with a towering home run to right field. The Fireflies (17-16) kept the engine running in that inning with two outs. Ali Sanchez hit a single and scored on a Milton Ramos double to left. After a walk and a wilt pitch, Andres Gimenez singled to left to score both runs and make it 4-1.
Columbia took out further insurance in the top of the fourth. The bottom of the order again started the rally as Sanchez and Ramos led off with singles. Gene Cone plated Sanchez on a grounder to right, then after a popout Ramos scampered home on a passed ball. Luis Carpio singled to knock Muckenhirn out of the game. Cody Dube came in from the bullpen and hit Michael Paez with a pitch to load the bases. Winningham then hit a sac fly to right to bring home Cone and give the Fireflies a 7-1 advantage after seven unanswered runs.
Delmarva finally answered in their half of the fourth inning. Palmeiro reached on an error and Collin Woody Walked. Gerrion Grim singled to right field to load the bases, and Alejandro Juvier's sac fly to center scored Palmeiro. After a groundout, Frank Crinella lined a single to right to score Woody and get the Shorebirds within 7-3.
The Shorebirds' last best chance came in the bottom of the seventh. Irving Ortega and Ryan McKenna drew two-out walks, and Ring clocked a line drive to right to score Ortega and make it 7-4. Palmeiro came up as the tying run but Uceta got him to hit a comebacker to the mound for a groundout.
Ring notched another multi-hit game for the Shorebirds, going 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and run.
Eight and nine hitters Sanchez and Ramos combined to go 5-for-7 with four runs and an RBI, providing a spark at the back of the lineup for the Fireflies. Winningham finished 2-for-4 with the home run and sac fly.
The Shorebirds and Fireflies will now get set for the single-admission doubleheader on Friday evening. Both games will go seven innings. Matthias Dietz (0-2, 6.75) gets the ball in Game One for the Shorebirds against the Fireflies' Joel Huertas (0-2, 10.80). Delmarva has yet to name a starter for Game Two, which begins 30 minutes after conclusion of the first. First pitch of the first game is 5:05 p.m., with gates opening at 4:30. Friday marks Sherman Shorebird's 22nd birthday and will feature a celebration with all his mascot friends. It's also another Orange Friday at Perdue Stadium, as well as Froggy 99.9 Big Beer Friday, featuring 32 oz. Miller Lite and Coors Light cans for $6. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch app begins at 4:50 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.