A five-run seventh inning did in the Columbus Catfish tonight, as the local fell to the Rome Braves, 7-3, allowing Rome to avoid being swept.
The big blow for Rome was 3B Eric Campbell's grand slam that came with one out in the 7th inning. In that inning, Catfish starter David Pfeiffer had loaded the bases on three straight singles before being relieved by Arsimendy Castillo. After getting a force out at home on the next Rome batter, Castillo allowed Campbell's blast over the left field wall.
The benches cleared when Castillo hit the next Rome batter, C Cody Clark, with a Muscogee County deputy needed to restore order. After both benches were warned, play proceeded with back-to-back singles scoring Clark.
In the bottom of the seventh, Catfish 3B Russ Mitchell was hit by the first pitch, and umpire Chris Hammer tossed Rome pitcher Jake Stevens and pitching coach Jim Czajkowski. Stevens received "high-fives" from the Rome players in the dugout as he collected his stuff, pretty much confirming that he was throwing at Mitchell.
Although the next batter, 1B Jason Mooneyham was also hit by reliever Rudy Quinonez, no action was taken, although the crowd wanted him tossed also. Mitchell scored on 2B Travis Denker's double, and Mooneyham scored on C Tony Harper's double, which also drove in Denker.
Rome's third pitcher, Brad Nelson, allowed a single in each of the last two innings, the Catfish couldn't push either baserunner across, and the game ended 7-3, with the Catfish on the short end.
Although Mooneyham was 0-for-3 at the plate, being hit means that he has now reached base safely in 32 consecutive games, including 26 in a row at home.
The loss drops the Catfish to fifth place, six games out of first, but still just a game out of second.
After a day off Tuesday, the Catfish travel to Savannah for three games, before returning home to host the division-leading Augusta Greenjackets (Giants).