What started out as a promising night ended in disappointment for the Columbus Catfish this evening. A ninth-inning collapse -- allowing six runs on four hits -- turned a three-run lead into a three-run loss to the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox).
In the 2nd inning, the Catfish pushed across two runs, on two doubles and a sacrifice fly. LF Ryan Royster led the inning with a double to center, then scored on 1B Matthew Fields 1-out double to right. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Fields scored on SS Jairo De La Rosa's sacrifice fly, making it 2-0 for the Catfish.
The Catfish added what looked like an insurance run in the 7th. CF Desmond Jennings reached on a grounder left, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored when RF Maiko Loyola singled on a ground ball to center field.
Starting P Woods Fines pitched 5 innings of no-hit ball, being lifted before the 6th inning after throwing 86 pitches. Fines struck out 7 and walked 3, and appeared to be heading for a win after reliever Chris Kelly scattered 3 hits over the next 3 innings, walking one and striking out 3 more Kannapolis batters.
Things fell apart in the 9th, though. Kannapolis sent 10 batters to the plate and pushed 6 runs across. P Matt Falk started the inning, but loaded the bases on hit sandwiched between two walks. Neal Frontz then took the mound hoping to celebrate his 23rd birthday with a save, but instead would be tagged with a loss.
Three more singles, including one that never left the infield, along with an error and some aggressive base running by Kannapolis accounted for a total of six runs in the inning.
The loss drops the Catfish to 1-1 for the new season. Game three is Saturday night at 7:00 at Golden Park in Columbus.