With 14 games left in the season, the Catfish are 5 games behind Augusta, needed to get within 1 game to even have a chance of making the playoffs.
That's not any easier now, following the Catfish' 10-8 loss to Charleston Wednesday night.
Columbus opened the game's scoring with two runs in the second inning on a two-run home run by Mike McCormick, his 10th of the season, that came on a 3-1 offering from Charleston starter Noel Castillo. McCormick's blast, which cleared the left-center field fence, drove home Stephen Vogt, who opened the frame with a double.The loss, combined with Augusta's loss, keeps the Catfish 5 games out.
Charleston came right back in the bottom of the second on back-to-back solo home runs by Romine and Brandon Laird, both coming off Catfish starter Jason Ragan. Romine's blast, his eighth of the season, cleared the left field wall while Laird's, which was his team-leading 19th of the year, sailed past the center field fence and into the batter's eye. The two round-trippers came on three pitches.
Columbus broke the 2-2 tie in the third on a RBI double by Reid Fronk and a run-scoring triple by Vogt to give the visitors a 4-2 advantage.
But the RiverDogs sliced the lead to 4-3 in the third, when Laird drew a bases loaded walk.
In the fourth, the Catfish extended their lead to 6-3 with two outs as Maiko Loyola singled home a run as did Shawn O'Malley.
Yet once again, Charleston retaliated with a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth to take a 7-6 lead. In the inning, Carmen Angelini doubled and Abraham Almonte drew a walk, and the bases became loaded on Austin Krum's single. Jesus Montero doubled home three runs with a long line drive to center that chased Ragan out of the game. Austin Romine drove in the go-ahead run with a single that plated Montero.
Columbus pushed two more runs across in the sixth when Angelini could not make a two-out running catch on a short fly ball hit by Loyola and both base runners scored.
But the RiverDogs came right back in the sixth with their second back-to-back home runs, with Montero and Romine taking the honors. Montero's blast to right was his 16th of the season while Romine's was his second of the night, and ninth of the season.
The Catfish must get within 1 game by the end of the season in order to have a chance for the playoffs. Actually, the Catfish must get within a small number of percentage points. They have a suspended game with Augusta that would be completed if its outcome could decide the 2nd half title. If a Catfish win in that game wouldn't affect the top spot, then it will be canceled. If it would make a difference, they'd complete the game, likely September 2 in Columbus.