Sunday, July 13, 2008

Catfish take two from Greensboro, take over first place

When the Columbus Catfish last played -- a loss to Kannapolis -- on Wednesday, they were in second place.

A couple of rainouts later, the Catfish find themselves all alone in first place.

Of course, it wasn't just the rainouts. It was losses by other teams ... and a Saturday night double-header sweep of the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins).

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Catfish jumped out to an early lead when C Ian Paxton homered to lead off the 3rd inning.

Greensboro took the lead in the 4th, thanks to 3 singles, a walk, a stolen base, and a wild pitch, all before an out was recorded.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the 4th, the Catfish retook lead. 3B Greg Sexton singled, then moved to third on LF Stephen Vogt's single. With 1 out, 2B Chase Fontaine drove in Sexton on his single to right. Paxton then hit his second homer of the night, a 3-run shot to left. With 2 outs, CF Maiko Loyola, DH Shawn O'Malley and RF Reid Fronk hit consecutive singles, scoring Loyola. After a pitching change, Sexton singled for the 2nd time in the inning, scoring O'Malley, and putting the Catfish' 6th run of the inning on the board, and giving the Catfish a 7-3 lead.

Greensboro scored 2 in the top of the 7th, putting the final score at 7-5.

Starter Jeremy Hall allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings work. It was his 4th win of the season, and 4th in his last 5 starts.

In the 2nd game, Greensboro scored runs in the 1st 2 innings. A pair of triples in the 1st and a solo home run in the 2nd, gave Greensboro a 2-0 lead.

In the 2nd, 1B Henry Wrigley hit a 2-run homer to tie the game. The Catfish threatened to take the lead, ending the 2nd with 2 runners in scoring position.

The Catfish wasted runners in scoring position in the 1st and 5th innings, but put the winning run across in the 7th.

DH Shawn Williams singled, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Loyola, who reached first on an error on the play. Vogt, who wasn't playing in game two, came off the bench to run for Williams. O'Malley (SS) moved both runners over on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Fronk (LF) was intentionally walked to load the bases to let up a potential double play. That plan went out the window when Greensboro reliever Steven Cishek's wild pitch allowed Sexton to score the game-winning run.

Starter Jesse Darcy pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. Reliever Justin Garcia picked up the win after pitching a scoreless 7th.

The double win, coupled with a 2-5 slump by former 1st place Augusta, gives the Catfish sole possession of 1st place in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division.

The series with Greensboro continues Sunday evening, with the Catfish needing a win to secure a series win.

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