Columbia starter Merandy Gonzalez pitched six shutout innings and earned his eighth victory of the season as the Fireflies took a 5-1 win over the Lexington Legends Wednesday afternoon in Columbia.
The Fireflies opened the scoring in the second inning when Desmond Lindsey led off with a single and scored on a double by Ali Sanchez. They added a run in the third on a double by Andres Gimenez, a single by Michael Paez and a sacrifice fly by Dash Winningham.
Columbia extended its lead to 4-0 with two runs in the fourth. Luis Carpio and Sanchez singled, and Carpio came home on a double by Jay Jabs. Gene Cone’s sacrifice fly scored Sanchez from third.
Back-to-back doubles by Winningham and Lindsey in the fifth gave the Fireflies a 5-0 lead, which they held until Gabriel Cancel led off the top of the ninth with his fifth home run of the year, giving the Legends their only run.
Gonzalez (8-1) allowed three hits in six innings. He struck out five batters and walked one, and lowered his earned run average for the season to 1.56, second in the South Atlantic League behind his teammate Jordan Humphreys, who is at 1.40. The two are tied for the league lead in wins with eight each.
Adonis Uceta, Taylor Henry and Joseph Zangi each worked an inning in relief for Columbia. Zangi gave up Cancel’s homer in the ninth.
Legends starter Garrett Davila (4-2) pitched the first five innings and took the loss.
The final game of the three-game series will be played Thursday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.