Columbia pitchers notched 14 strikeouts against visiting Augusta, led by starter Andrew Church, who just joined the team earlier in the day from the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Church had nine strikeouts in five innings, giving up only two hits and one run. Firefly batters proved just as hot, racking up 14 runs in 15 hits, including four home runs.
The Fireflies opened up the scoring in the first inning, when with two outs and two batters walked, Luis Ortega hit a homer to left field.
The GreenJackets got on the board in the third, when two fielding errors combined with Lucius Fox’s single to put runners on second and third. Jalen Miller came to the plate, reached first on a fielding error, then advanced to second on a throwing error while one runner scored.
Augusta appeared to be in a good position to tally some more runs, but three straight strikeouts from Church brought to an end the GreenJackets’ turn at the plate.
Columbia struck again in the fourth. A single by Patrick Mazeika, a single by Ortega, and a Dash Winningham home run put the Fireflies up 6-1.
Columbia opened the bottom of the fifth with a base hit from Vinny Siena. Siena stole second before Kevin Kaczmarski hit a one-hopper over second base which netted him a single and allowed Siena to score. Augusta sent in pitcher Jake McCasland to relieve starter Logan Webb, but a passed ball and a stolen base put Kaczmarski on third, and J.C. Rodriguez’s ground out brought him home before McCasland could work the inning to a close.
Tyler Moore was walked to begin the bottom of the sixth, and the Fireflies adeptly worked him in for a score with a ground out (Moore to second), a sacrifice fly (Moore to third), and Kaczmarski’s drive to shallow center field for a single and the RBI. The run put Columbia up 9-1.
Augusta brought pitcher Caleb Smith in for the seventh in what may have been their only bright spot of the evening. Smith downed three straight batters (two strikeouts) to retire the side.
For the eighth, the GreenJackets put in pitcher Ryan Halstead, who had a rough go of things. Ivan Wilson homered, Moore singled, Joe Tuschak singled, Siena singled (RBI), Tuschak scored on a balk, and Kaczmarski homered to give the Fireflies five runs in five batters. Augusta then brought in pitcher Matthew Pope (their fifth and final pitcher of the night), who got the inning closed without any further bloodletting.
A Gustavo Cabrera RBI in the ninth gave the GreenJackets their second run, and finalized the score at 14-2.
Columbia played three pitchers on the night: Church for five innings, Seth Davis for three innings, and Nicco Blank for the final inning.