The Columbus Catfish moved into second place in the SAL South Division with an 8-5 win over the Rome Braves this afternoon, hitting 5 home runs in the process.
Rome scored first in the top of the 2nd inning ... and would score a single run in each of the next 3 innings. The Catfish kept the game even much of the way.
In the bottom of the 2nd, 1B Seth Dhaenens reached on a 1-out ground ball single to deep short, and took second on a throwing error that bounded into the first base stands. Brett Grandstrand (2B) followed with a single to center fielder, moving Dhaenens to third. He then stole second. SS Jairo De La Rosa bunted, Dhaenens held up trying to score, but Grandstrand tried to move to third. Rome 1B Larry Williams, unable to make a play at first, caught Grandstrand in a brief rundown, with SS Chad Lundahl putting the tag on Grandstrand. Meanwhile, Dhaenens took off for the plate and beat the throw home, scoring, while De La Rosa moved to second. The inning ended with the game tied at 1.
Down 2-1 in the third, 3B Cesar Suarez hit his second homer of the year, a solo shot over the Domino's Pizza sign in left field, tying the game at 2.
Again down by a run in the 4th, Grandstrand led the bottom of the inning with a doubles left. With 1 out, CF Maiko Loyola hit his firsts home run of the season, a 2-run shot into over the right fielder, who could do nothing but watch it hit the trees. With 2 outs, Cesar Suarez hit another homer, his 2nd of the game and 3rd of the season, over the W.C. Bradley sign in left field, putting the Catfish up 5-3.
After Rome closed it to 5-4 in the top of the 5th, Quinn Stewart hits a 414-foot shot to straight-away center, which is 415 feet from the plate.The ball was just out of the reach of CF Yohan Silva, and bounced off the bricks and headed into left-center. By the time Silva ran it down and threw back to the infield, Stewart had an inside-the-park home run. He now has 7 homers on the season, tied for tops on the team.
In the top of the 6th, things got heated. Rome 2B Chase Fontaine objected to being called out on strikes. So, the home plate umpire ejected him. That's when Rome manager Randy Ingle came out, trying to settle Fontaine and speak with crew chief Jimmy Volpi. Fontaine continued offering his opinion while field umpire David Soucy joined the discussion. Rome batting coach Bobby Moore came in, directed Fontaine away from Soucy, then turned on Soucy. After just a couple of sentences, Soucy ejected Moore. Both Moore and Fontaine eventually returned to the dugout, but didn't see either leave the field. A couple of other Rome players left shortly afterward, but as far as I could tell, Moore and Fontaine remained in the dugout. I wasn't sure if the umpires were aware of that. Or perhaps ejected players and staff can stay in the dugout. Maybe I need to read the rules again.
In the 8th, Rome closed the gap to 6-5 on a bases-loaded walk. Then, in the bottom of the inning, De La Rosa hit one off the TSYS sign in left-center, scoring Dhaenens who had walked, making the score 8-5.
Suarez, Grandstrand, and De La Rosa each had 2 hits to lead the Catfish attack.
Wade Townsend allowed 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings work, striking out 4 to pick up his 4th win. Wilton Noel went 2-2/3 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits, striking out a pair. Ryan Owen faced the final 4 batters and retired them all to pick up his 4th save.
The win, coupled with Augusta's extra-innings win over Asheville leaves the Catfish 3 games behind Augusta, but now in second place, with 13 games left in the first half.