Brogdon Strong, but ‘Claws Fall to Fireflies

Columbia scored six times in the bottom of the eighth inning, taking the lead on a home run from Quinn Brody after tying the game on a Gio Alfonzo grand slam as they came back to top the BlueClaws 9-7 on Saturday night at Spirit Communications Park.

One night after the Fireflies (16-14) scored one in the eighth and one in the ninth to top the BlueClaws 2-1, they erased a five-run deficit to win the second of the four-game series with the BlueClaws (15-14).

Luis Ramirez came on for the bottom of the eighth with a 7-3 lead, but loaded the bases on a walk, single, and hit batsman before Gio Alfonzo hit a grand slam to tie the game at seven. After a strikeout, Blake Tiberi walked. Addison Russ came in to pitch, and Quinn Body smashed his fourth home run of the season onto the berm in right-center to put Columbia up 9-7.

Ramirez (0-4) took the loss after being charged with five runs in 1/3 of an inning.

The BlueClaws had taken the lead with a five-run seventh inning. That inning started with a double from Colby Fitch, who slid home avoiding a tag on a groundball from Josh Stephen to put the BlueClaws up 3-2. Kevin Markham added a two-run triple off reliever Connor O’Neil and the BlueClaws would add runs on a Jake Scheiner fielder’s choice grounder and a Nick Maton RBI single.

Two of the five runs were charged to starter Anthony Kay, who allowed four in 6 1/3 innings for Columbia.

Lakewood opened the scoring on Scheiner’s leadoff home run off Kay in the first inning. It was Scheiner’s second home run of the trip and third of the season, plus the first leadoff home run for a BlueClaw since Herlis Rodriguez in 2015 against Kannapolis.

After Columbia tied it in the third off Connor Brogdon, Danny Mayer homered in the fifth to put Lakewood back ahead 2-1. Mayer had homered on Sunday in his third BlueClaws game and now has two in just 32 at bats with Lakewood.

Brogdon came out after five innings, allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision.

Connor O’Neil (2-0) was the winning pitcher after allowing three runs, two earned, in 1.2 innings of work.

Gregori Rivero was 2-for-2 with a walk and hit by pitch for Lakewood, reaching base all four times he came up. Kevin Markham had two hits and drove in two runs in the loss.

The teams continue their series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 pm. Left-hander David Parkinson (2-1) starts for the BlueClaws against lefty Chris Viall (1-2).

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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