Columbia outlasts HiToms
In just their second game in five days, due to the foul weather, the HiToms fell behind early and couldn’t quite catch up.
The Columbia Blowfish scored four runs over the first three innings to build a sizable lead and rolled behind starting pitcher Zack Russell-Myers in handing the HiToms a 4-2 loss Monday night at Finch Field.
“We didn’t do it with guys on base and couldn’t get two-out hits,” manager Zach Brown said. “We had a big swing late that I felt got us within striking distance. But their closer came in and did a good job.
“I think the off days (three rain-outs) and the rain not letting us take (batting practice Monday) got them out of their groove a little bit. But they’re all right, and they’ll get back to it.”
Russell-Myers (2-1) struck out nine and walked none in seven innings for the Blowfish (6-5) in limiting the HiToms (4-6) at the plate. With an early lead, he was able to work comfortably for much of the game.
Columbia scored once in the first, moving home on an errant throw to third from the outfield. It then scored two runs in the second, keyed by an RBI single by Jake Welch and RBI double by Michael Wilson, and one in the third on a sacrifice fly by Zack Smith.
Trailing 4-0, the HiToms did cut into the lead with a bloop single by Andrew Cox in the fourth and a solo home run by Dykota Spiess, hit deep over the right-field wall, in the eighth. But Derrick Smith picked up the save, striking out three of the four batters he faced.
Brody Koerne (0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs in three innings for the HiToms, who play tonight at Forest City. James Lively, however, was outstanding in relief, allowing just two hits while walking none in six innings.
“As of late, the bullpen’s been very, very good,” Brown said. “Our starting pitching, as I said before when we were playing well, has to get five innings. When we get quality starts, I feel like we’re going to win.
“If it’s just one or two runs, then I feel like we’re OK — like if it’s 2-1, I still feel like we’re going to win. If you give up four runs in three innings, you’re battling back and your hitting. . . it’s not going to be there every night. Sometimes you have to win a 2-1 game..”
Cox went 3 for 4 with an RBI to lead the HiToms offensively while Kyle Brandenburg roped a double off the wall in the first inning. Wilson went 2 for 4 with an RBI for the Blowfish while Brandon Mitchell had a double.