It took a 4-run 8th inning, but the Columbus Catfish managed to come from behind and beat the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) and stay on pace a game out of first place.
Three 2-out singles in the top of the first gave the Catfish the early 1-0 lead. 3B Cesar Suarez, C Nevin Ashley, and LF Ryan Royster all singled, with Royster's hit scoring Suarez.
Catfish starter Woods Fines was touched up for 5 runs in the bottom of the inning, putting the Catfish in an early hole.
2 runs in the top of the 3rd closed the gap. Ashley hit a 1-out solo homers to right center. With 2 outs, DH Maiko Loyola walked, then 1B Matt Fields doubled, sending Loyola across the plate.
Charleston got both runs back in the 4th inning. A lead-off homer accounted for the first run. Two singles and a double allowed Charleston another runs. Ashley took a throw from SS Jairo De La Rosa to tag out what would have been the 2rd run on the play. That saved run came in to play later.
In the 5th, the Catfish closed the gap to 7-4 in the 5th. Suarez led off with a double to left field. With 1 out, he stole third, then scored on Royster's double to right.
It remained 7-4 until the 8th inning. Loyola started things by drawing a walk. Fields singles on a ground ball to right, moving Loyola to third. 2B Brett Grandstrand reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Loyola, then took second when the throw to complete the double play went wild. After a pitching change, Grandstrand moved to third on a wild pitch. PH Quinn Stewart walked, then CF Desmond Jennings grounded out to third scoring Grandstrand. RF John Matulia doubled, driving in Stewart and tying the game. That was followed by a Suarez single that scored Matulia, and put the Catfish up 8-7.
Matt Falk entered the game in relief to start the 5th inning. He allowed 2 hits in 2 innings work. Neal Frontz pitched the next 2 innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 3, and got credit for the win. Ryan Owen pitched a perfect 9th to earn his 3rd save.
The win keeps the Catfish a game behind division-leading Augusta, who beat Greensboro, and a half-game behind Asheville, who won their game with Lexington.
Charleston 3B Mitch Hilligoss bunted his way on in the 7th, extending his hitting streak to 36 games, a new South Atlantic League record.
Suarez led Catfish batters going 3-for-5, scoring twice and driving in the winning run. His 5th inning double was his 17th, tops on the team. Ashley, Royster, and Fields each had 2 hits. Royster's 2 RBIs moved him into the team lead with 32 on the season.
Defensively, the Catfish managed to prevent 8 Charleston base runners from scoring after reaching scoring position.