Sunday, April 6, 2008

Catfish drop series, finally win a game

Basil, Catfish fanSaturday night's rainout caused the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets) and the Columbus Catfish to schedule a double-header today. And, after dropping the first two games of the series, the Catfish needed a double-header sweep to split the series.

They didn't.

They did make it interesting in the first game, and just plain beat Savannah in the second game, giving Savannah the series, but the Catfish their first win.

Game one was much like the first two games of the series. Savannah jumped to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to another towering home run, this one by Savannah C Francisco Pena.

By the middle of the 4th, Savannah had a 4-0 lead. The Catfish made another error, their 7th in three games, accounting for one of those runs. They'd commit another later in game one, but no one scored on that one. And, in all honesty, they should have been charged with another error in the 4th, on a play where the official scorer ruled a sacrifice fly on a deep shot to center that allowed a runner to score ... from second base. The Savannah coach held the runner up at third, then sent him home when the throw missed the cutoff man. Doesn't really matter, I supposed, since the run counts, whether earned or unearned. Unless you're the pitcher, who got charged an earned run on a run that shouldn't have happened.

Bottom of the 4th, and the Catfish started their comeback.

With 2 outs, DH Stephen Vogt walked, stole second, then scored when 1B Henry Wrigley doubled to right, cutting the lead to 4-1.

The Catfish stranded runners in scoring position in both the 5th and 6th innings.

In the 7th, the Catfish came, oh, so close to winning.

With one out, SS Omar Luna reached on an error. CF Emeel Salem and RF Maiko Loyola walked to load the bases. Following a pitching change, LF Reid Fronk walked, plating Luna. 2B Cody Cipriano grounded out, scoring Salem. Vogt then hit a hot shot over the third baseman, that should have been a double, scoring two runs and giving the Catfish the win. However, Savannah, 3B Jacob Eigsti made a great jump to snag the ball, cut the rally short, and give the visitors the win.

Both pitching staffs did another good job. Savannah only managed 4 hits, while the Catfish mustered only 3. Each team has two errors, though the Catfish should have been charged with a third.

Game two was not close.

The Catfish got their first lead of the season in the 3rd inning. With one out, Luna and Salem both reached on singles. Salem stole second, his third steal of the young season. 2B Joey Callender drove in Luna on a sacrifice fly to right. Then some serious excitement. Just how serious, we wouldn't find out until later.

Fronk (RF) hit a shot just out of reach of Savannah CF Richard Pena. Salem scored from third, and the ball bounced away from Pena. By the time the ball got back to the infield, Fronk was bearing down on home plate. With C Jordan Abruzzo blocking the plate, Fronk ran him over, scoring the Catfish' third run, and turning a triple into an inside-the-park home run.

In the 4th, Vogt (LF) and C Mike McCormick hit back-to-back doubles to make it 4-0.

In the 5th, the 3rd inning collision at home plate came back to into play. Savannah reliever Julio Polanco hit Fronk with his first pitch, bringing a warning from home plate umpire Koyu Inoue. Savannah manager Donovan Mitchell complained about the warning, but it stood.

In the 6th, the Catfish stretched their lead to 4-0. McCormick and Wrigley singled to lead off the inning. DH Shawn Williams hit into a 4-6-3 double play moving McCormick to third. Luna singled to second, scoring McCormick, and putting the Catfish up 4-0.

The 7th inning saw more fireworks, but no scoring.

With 2 outs and the bases empty, Catfish P Kevin Boggan hit Abruzzo in the head. Inoue immediately threw out Boggan while Abruzzo yelled, "I am not believing this!" as he grabbed his head and dropped to the ground. Abruzzo let the F-bomb ... actually the M-F-bomb ... fly as he rolled around. The Savannah skipper let an F-bomb fly as he complained to Inoue, despite Inoue's tossing of Boggan.

After things settled, Abruzzo was replaced on the base paths, and Catfish reliever Travis Risser coaxed a ground ball out of Savannah 3B Jacob Eigsti to end the game.

Jason Ragan picked up the first Catfish win of the year, striking out 4 and retiring 9 straight at one point.

Despite dropping the series, the Catfish were actually in every game. Errors killed them.

If they can cut down the errors, they'll be on the winning side of a lot more games than on the losing side.

The Catfish head on the road for eight games, playing at Rome tomorrow night in the first of four, then heading to Savannah Friday for another four.

I'm curious to see if there'll be any follow-up to the head-hunting that may ... or may not ... have gone on today.

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