Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Catfish falter, maintain division lead

The Columbus Catfish lost for only the 2nd time in the 2nd half, falling to the Rome Braves 11-6 Monday night.

It was a difficult night for both starting pitchers. The South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, Catfish starter Jeremy Hall, didn't make it out of the 3rd inning, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits in 2-2/3 innings work. The Rome starter, Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Hampton, struggled as well, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits in 3 innings work.

Things started well for the Catfish. DH Shawn Williams drove in 1B Stephen Vogt in the 2nd inning with an infield single, putting the Catfish up 1-0 in the 2nd inning.

The 3rd inning started well, too. SS Shawn O'Malley singled to lead off the inning. With 1 out, 3B Greg Sexton singled, moving O'Malley to third. RF Quinn Stewart then drove home O'Malley with a single to center. LF Reid Fronk singled, scoring Sexton scores. Then Vogt drove home Stewart on a single to center, giving the Catfish a 4-0 lead.

That's when things fell apart. Five straight hits in the bottom of the 3rd tied the game at 4. After Hall was replaced, another hit scored the 5th run of the inning, also charged to Hall, giving Rome a 5-4 lead.

Rome scored 2 more in the 4th, going up 7-4.

Stewart homered in the top of the 5th, narrowing the gap to 7-6.

In the bottom of the 5th, a grand slam by Rome's Jason Heyward, Atlanta's top minor league prospect, put Rome up 11-6.

Hall suffered his 2nd loss of the year. Reliever Glenn Gibson went 2-1/3, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits. Jose Angel Mejias pitched a perfect 7th inning. Travis Barnett pitch 2 innings, allowing 3 hits.

Offensively, Stewart went 3-for-5, driving in 3 runs. O'Malley, Sexton, Fronk, Vogt and Williams each had 2 hits.

Despite the loss, the Catfish maintain their lead in the Southern Division, now 1/2 game over Augusta and Kannapolis.

The Catfish and Rome finish their short series Tuesday night.

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