The middle innings of tonight's game between the Columbus Catfish and the Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) looked like a classic pitcher's duel. From the 4th through the 7th innings, Catfish pitchers Kale Garrison and Jordan Pratt faced 12 batters and recorded 12 outs (a double-play in the 5th helped). But the first 3 and last 2 innings did in the Catfish tonight, as they dropped another game to Hickory, 9-3.
Starter Arismendy Castillo allowed 7 hits and 4 runs (all earned) in the first 3 innings and was charged with his 3rd loss of the season against 6 wins. In the 2nd inning, a walk and three singles helped Hickory score 2 runs. A walk, a double, and 2 singles in the 3rd accounted for 2 more Hickory runs.
In the 8th, two walks, two singles and two wild pitches allowed Hickory to score another run off Pratt. The usually reliable Ramon Troncoso continued his recent troubles, allowing 4 runs in the 9th. Troncoso leads the Catfish in saves, but has blown three of his last four attempts, before tonight's 4-run inning in a regular relief role.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Catfish managed just three runs on 7 hits. The biggest hit for the Catfish was C Conor McGeehan's two-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring CF Bridger Hunt, who had singled. The Catfish other run came in the 8th when 3B Russell Mitchell drove in 1B David Sutherland on a grounder to short.
The only Catfish with more than one hit was Hunt, who also had singled and advance to 3rd in the 7th with one out, but was stranded there. The Catfish left 9 runners on base, 5 in scoring position.
The loss, the third straight for the Catfish, comes on the heels of a successful road trip, where the Catfish won 5 of 8, and 3 of the last 4. The loss also leaves the Catfish in fourth place, now tied with Savannah, who has won 2 in a row.
The finale of the series with Hickory is Thursday night. That's dollar beer night. And College Night. And finals are this week at the college. So it might be a rowdy crowd.
Friday, the Catfish host Greensboro. Former Catfish player Dan Batz, who's picture is at the top of this little blog (the picture on the left, duh!) is now playing for the Grasshoppers (Marlins). It'll be great seeing him again.