Up 7-2 after 6 innings, the Columbus Catfish suffered a case of extreme bullpen collapse this afternoon in Savannah, losing to the Sand Gnats (Mets), 11-7.
The Catfish jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning. 3B Gregory Sexton doubled to center, RF Maiko Loyola reached on a bunt single, then LF Stephen Vogt doubled to center, scoring both Sexton and Loyola. Wit 2 outs, C Ian Paxton doubled, driving home Vogt, and putting the Catfish up by three runs.
A 2-out single by Savannah C Jordan Abruzzo scored DH Greg Veloz, who had singled and stolen second.
The Catfish extended the lead in the 4th. Loyola singled, stole second, then scored on a triple by Vogt. 1B Henry Wrigley followed with another triple, scoring Vogt and giving the Catfish a 5-1 lead.
The Catfish went up 6-1 in the 5th, when CF Emeel Salem reached on an error, made it to third on an errant pickoff attempt, and scored on a single by SS Joey Callender.
Savannah CF Daniel Stegall and SS Matthew Bouchard hit back to back doubles to make it 6-2 in the bottom of the 5th.
Vogt walked to lead the Catfish 6th, then stole second. He went to third on a single by Wrigley, and scored on a ground out by Paxton.
Up 7-2, and with reliever Brian Flores on the mound for starter Jeremy Hall, the Catfish fell apart in the 7th.
Bouchard singled for Savannah, then scored on a triple by Savannah 3B Richard Lucas. 1B Jose Jimenez homered, to make it 7-5.
John Baird came on in the 8th to try to shut the door on Savannah. He didn't. Despite having allowed only 1 earned run in 2 previous relief appearances, including 2 scoreless innings against Savannah on April 4, he couldn't hold Savannah today.
After getting the first batter out, Baird walked the next two, then allowed a single by Stegall, which loaded the bases. Baird walked in a run, then allowed a 2-run single to Lucas and a 3-run homer to Jimenez, and suddenly Savannah was up 11-7.
The Catfish were unable to get anything going in the 9th. Salem singled, but was erased on a double play. It was the only Catfish hit after Wrigley's single in the 6th.
Offensively, Loyola, Vogt, Wrigley, and Paxton had 2 hits each. Vogt led the Catfish with 3 RBI, while Paxton had a pair. Wrigley, Loyola, Salem, and Vogt each stole a base.
Jeremy Hall pitched 5 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 5. Flores allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, with a strikeout. Baird was charged with a blown save and the loss, for his 6-run, 4-hit performance, his first bad outing of the year.
The loss snaps the Catfish' first winning streak of the year ... at two. It also snaps a 7-game losing streak by Savannah. All 4 of Savannah's wins have come against the Catfish.
The two teams finish the series tomorrow night, with the Catfish assured of at least a split, but hoping to take the series with a win. The Catfish return home Tuesday night, opening an 8-game home stand with a pair against the Rome Braves.