Monday, July 30, 2007

Catfish power past West Virginia

After a slow start, the Columbus Catfish caught fire and powered their way past the West Virginia Power (Brewers) 6-2 tonight.

Down 2-0 after 2-1/2 innings, the Catfish began their comeback. With 1 out, C Craig Albernaz was hit by a pitch, and moved to third when SS Jairo De La Rosa singled, and West Virginia RF Chuck Caufield bobbled the ball. Albernaz scored ahead of a throw home from 1B Andrew Lefave, after Lefave fielded a grounder by CF Desmond Jennings.

In the Catfish 5th inning, 1B Matthew Fields led off with a walk, then Albernaz singled to left. A botched pickoff attempt let Fields advance to third. A De La Rosa single scored Fields. Albernaz moved to third on a fielder's choice that left Jennings at first, and scored on a sacrifice fly by RF John Matulia, putting the Catfish up 3-2.

The Catfish added another run in the 7th when Jennings, who reached on a 2-out walk, scored on a triple by Matulia.

In the 8th, Stewart led with a walk, and moved to second on a botched pickoff attempt. With 2 outs, Stewart advanced to third on a wild pitch. A single by Fields scored Stewart, putting the Catfish up 5-2.

Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson picked up his 9th win of the year, going 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 5. Brian Baker and Neal Frontz pitched 2 perfect innings each. Baker hasn't allowed an earned run in 6 straight appearances since July 8. Frontz earned his team-leading 13th save.

De La Rosa broke out of a 2-for-26 slump, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. He was the only Catfish with more than one hit, but they made the hits count.

The win leaves the Catfish 2 games behind division-leading Asheville, and pulls them to within a half-game of 2nd place Charleston.

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