The Columbus Catfish fell behind early and never caught up, dropping tonight's game to the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets) by a score of 4-3.
A walk, two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly put Savannah up 3-0 in the first inning.
The Catfish closed the gap to 3-2 in the 3rd. With 1 out, 2B Joey Callender reached on an error, then moved to second on a single by Jairo De La Rosa (SS). With 2 outs, RF John Matulia doubled, scoring Callender and De La Rosa.
Savannah added another run in the 4th, making it 4-2.
It stayed that way until the 9th inning, when 1B Seth Dhaenens walked, moved to second on a single by Callender. With 2 outs, Matulia singled to center, scoring Dhaenens and making it 4-3. However, the Catfish were unable to bring anyone else home, and that was the final score.
The Catfish had plenty of opportunities to score during the game, putting runners on base in 8 of 9 innings, but they stranded 9 base runners, 6 in scoring position. They also had 2 runners thrown out trying to steal.
Matulia led the Catfish offense, driving in all 3 runs. He was 4-for-5 with a double. LF Ryan Royster was 3-for-4, while Dhaenens was 2-for-3 with a runs scored.
Jeremy Hellickson allowed 4 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings on the mound, striking out 1 and walking 1. He also hit a batter. The loss was his first, and bumped his ERA from 1.80 to 2.79. The Catfish bullpen was effective. Wilton Noel went 3 innings, allowing 3 hits, striking out 3. Ryan Owen pitched 2 innings, didn't allow a hit, and struck out 2.
The loss, coupled with wins by Augusta and Asheville, dropped the Catfish from first to third place. Their record stands at 32-17 (.653), and are a game out of first place.
The series with Savannah continues Sunday afternoon.
Oh, by the way, it was a celebration of John Wayne's 100th birthday at the Catfish game tonight. Most of the between-inning events were modified to a western theme, and they had movie giveaways. The Wife won a John Wayne movie, The High and the Mighty. She said she's never seen it. That'll change soon, I'm sure.