Conlon Muzzles RiverDogs in 7-0 Fireflies Victory
A day after watching Josh Rogers stymy his own lineup, P.J. Conlon took to the mound late Wednesday morning and gave the Charleston RiverDogs a taste of their own medicine, shutting out his opponent for six innings in the Columbia Fireflies 7-0 victory. That gave the home team a series victory and moved them to .500 on the season.
Columbia grabbed the early 3-0 lead with a quick outburst in the bottom of the first inning. Kevin Kaczmarski reached on an error and moved to second when Vinny Siena drew a walk off of Charleston starter Cody Carroll two batters later. David Thompson grounded into a force out, to put runners at the corners with two outs. Joe Tuschak then doubled to the wall in center, scoring Kaczmarski to make it 1-0 and putting two runners into scoring position. Dash Winningham then hit a clutch two-out double of his own to score both runners and it was 3-0.
It would remain that way until the bottom of the third, when Columbia would tack on two more. Siena drew a walk again to get things started and moved to second on a single by Thompson. Two batters later Winningham delivered another clutch two-out hit, scoring Siena, with Thompson reaching third on an error. Jeff Diehl followed with a single and it was 5-0 Columbia.
The Fireflies would add solo runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. Kaczmarski’s one-out triple in the fourth led to a run when J.C. Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored the Columbia lead-off hitter. In the fifth, Thompson reached on a hit by pitch and eventually came around to score on a double by Ramos in the fifth. That would be the last run scored of the game.
While the Columbia offense was staking Conlon to a big lead, he was doing his utmost to shut down the RiverDogs offense. The Charleston offense seemed to have no answers for the Fireflies starter. Their one big chance to score came in the top of the fifth when Drew Bridges tripled to start off the frame. Kendall Coleman then hit a ball to left field that looked like it was deep enough to score Bridges, but Kaczmarski made a great throw to the plate to gun down the runner for the double-play.
Conlon (2-0) would go six innings in the contest, allowing 6-hits, no walks and no runs. He struck out 6, and lowered his ERA to a microscopic 1.08. It was an amazing performance by the left-hander, especially considering he threw just 73 pitches in his six innings of work.
Winningham and Diehl had the two big bats for Columbia. Winningham was 2-2, with 3-RBI and 2-walks. Diehl also had two hits and drove in a run.
While the Charleston RiverDogs only mustered six-hits, Trey Amburgey remains red-hot. The team’s right fielder was 3-4, giving him his third straight game where he had three-hits. He finished 9-13 in the series and raised his average to .383. Hoy Jun Park singled to extend his hitting streak to nine-games.
The RiverDogs lost three of the four games to Columbia, the first time they have lost a series this season.
Columbia now moves onto Greenville. Charleston returns home to face the Augusta GreenJackets. Logan Webb (0-0, 3.38) will go for Augusta against the RiverDogs’ Brody Koerner (1-0, 1.38). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier