Catfish split with Rome, inch closer to elimination
Family of Columbus/Phenix City native Adam Coe with one of his two home run balls he hit against the Catfish tonight
Either the Columbus Catfish or the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) will win the South Atlantic League Southern Division. And Augusta got a lot closer tonight.
The Catfish split a pair of games with the Rome Braves tonight, dropping the first game, 12-3, but picking up the nightcap, 13-5. The split, coupled with Augusta's win puts their magic number -- the number of Augusta wins or Catfish losses to clinch the division for Augusta -- at two.
The only good news in game one was for the local players was a local player hitting two home runs. Columbus/Phenix City native Adam Coe, however, plays for Rome.
Game two was all Catfish, with the home team scoring in 5 straight innings.
In the opener, the Catfish scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on a single by CF Maiko Loyola, a triple by SS Shawn O'Malley, and an RBI by RF Reid Fronk to take an early 2-0 lead.
It didn't last.
Rome scored in innings 2 through 6 to take a 12-2 lead.
In the 6th, O'Malley singled, to start the inning, then came in from third on a single by LF Stephen Vogt, putting the final score at 12-3.
Rome starter Edgar Osuna recorded 14 straight outs en route to a complete game win. He allowed just 6 hits, 2 by O'Malley. Catfish P Jason Ragan took the loss, his 9th.
The second game started well for the Catfish.
Reid Fronk (LF) hit a 2-out solo homer to stake the Catfish to a 1-0 lead.
2B Seth Dhaenens drove in a pair of runs in the 2nd on a single to left, sending Vogt (C) and RF Quinn Stewart across the plate.
The Catfish got a scare in the 3rd. With 2 outs and a 3-0 lead, starter Josh Johnson was struck near the knee by a sharply hit ball from Rome RF David Berres. Johnson collapsed, but recovered and was finally able to walk off the field. Reliever Travis Risser gave up an RBI single and a 3-run homer, giving Rome a 4-3 lead.
The Catfish came back strong. O'Malley singled, then Fronk walked. After a pitching change, DH Greg Sexton walked to load the bases with nobody out. A wild pitch allowed O'Malley to score, tying the game, while the other runners moved up. Vogt walked to load the bases again with nobody out. Stewart drew a bases-loaded walk, giving the Catfish the lead. After another pitching change, 1B Henry Wrigley reached on a fielder's choice. With 2 outs, 3B Omar Luna singled, scoring Vogt. Loyla drove in Stewart and Wrigley on a single to right. The Catfish got their 6th run of the inning when Loyola stole second, and Rome C Chris Anderson threw the ball over the head of SS Michael Fisher, allowing Luna to cross the plate.
In the 4th, 4 doubles meant 3 Catfish runs. Vogt, Wrigley, Dhaenens and Loyola each had a two-bagger, increasing the Catfish lead to 12-4.
Rome got a run in the top of the 5th, making it 12-5.
Stewart drove in Fronk in the bottom of the 5th, setting the score at 13-5.
Every Catfish batter reached base, and all but 1 had a hit. Loyola, Vogt, Stewart, and Dhaenens each had a pair of hits.
Risser picked up the win, his 3rd.
The Catfish close out their home regular season schedule with games Thursday and Friday against Savannah. They close out the season on the road Saturday, with either 3 or 4 games in Rome, depending on if the rained out game this week would make a difference in the standings. If they play the 4th game, and if Augusta still hasn't clinched, the suspended game from August 1st would be completed Tuesday in Columbus, determining the division championship.