It took extra innings, but the Columbus Catfish reached the .500 mark for the first time this season by beating the Rome Braves 2-1 tonight.
Rome jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, scoring in the top of the first on two doubles ... with a walk sandwiched in between.
Rome managed 7 hits in the first 4 innings, but couldn't score beyond that sole run in the first inning. Starter Josh Johnson got out of a bases loaded jam in the 3rd inning, and C Mike McCormick threw out three Rome base runners trying to steal, including 1 in the top of the 10th inning. Rome left 9 runners on base, 5 in scoring position.
Rome's pitching staff kept the Catfish off balance most of the night. Through 5 innings, the Catfish had 1 hit, an infield single by Emeel Salem in the 4th. The first Catfish batted ball to leave the infield, left the outfield, too. DH Cody Cipriano hit a solo home run that tied the game in the 6th inning.
The Catfish only managed one other hit before the 10th inning. But in the 10th, they managed to finally string some hits together.
With 2 outs, 1B Henry Wrigley singled up the middle. 2B Joey Callender reached on an infield single, setting up the win, when SS Omar Luna singled down the right field line, scoring Wrigley and giving the Catfish a 2-1 win.
Luna was the only Catfish batter to have more than 1 hit. He went 2-for-4, raising his average to .405, 3rd highest in the league.
Johnson allowed 1 run on 6 hits in 5 innings work, walking a couple and striking out four. Travis Barnett made his first appearance for the Catfish tonight. The right-handed side-arm pitcher went 2 innings, allowing 1 hit, walking 2, and striking out 3. John Baird pitched the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings, allowing 1 hit, walking 1, and striking out 3, and got the win, his first.
Local native Adam Coe was DH for Rome tonight. He had a single and a double, and was caught stealing.
The win was the Catfish' 3rd in a row and 5th of their last 6 games. They've evened their season record to 7-7, the first time this year they've been at .500. And, it's their first sweep, although a short 2-game series.
The Catfish are off Thursday, opening a 4-game series with division leader Charleston on Friday night, before hosting Rome again for another pair of games.