After getting clocked Sunday night, the Columbus Catfish played their normal game tonight, beating the Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) 5-2. Ryan Royster homered again, a solo shot in the top of the 2nd, to extend his league-leading total to 25. Brian Baker, in a relief appearance, extended his scoreless streak to 20-2/3 innings.
The Catfish added 2 more runs in the 3rd, with Royster contributing again. With 1 out, Cesar Suarez doubled, then moved to third on a ground out by Nevin Ashley. Royster singled him in, then scored himself on a double by Seth Dhaenens, putting the Catfish up 3-0.
Hickory scored unearned runs in the 4th and 5th to close the gap. The Catfish added an unearned run of their own in the 5th, when Suarez reached on an error, making it all the way to second. After moving to third on another ground out by Ashley, Suarez scored on a 2-out single by Dhaenens.
The Catfish added one more run in the 8th. With 1 out, Matt Fields walked, and moved to third on Quinn Stewart's line drive single to right. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Jairo De La Rosa to put the Catfish up 5-2.
Brian Baker, a star for Columbus High, Columbus State, and now the Columbus Catfish, pitched 3 innings relief, allowing 1 hit, and striking out 4. He hasn't allowed a run since July 8, a stretch of 20-2/3 innings.
Heath Rollins won his 14th game, tied for tops in the league, pitching 5 innings, allowing 2 unearned runs on 5 hits, striking out 6. Neal Frontz pitched a perfect 9th to notch his 16th save.
Royster's home run tonight was his 10th round-tripper in his last 13 games. Prior to last night's game, he had gone long in 6 straight games.
With the series tied at a game apiece, game 3 of the 4-game series is Tuesday night.
The win tonight brings the Catfish to within 1/2 of division-leading Asheville, who lost tonight.