COLUMBIA, SC June 10, 2014 – The Marlins got a first inning three-run home run from Johnny Caputo Tuesday night, but were unable to hold the lead as Columbia scratched back and eventually held on to a 9-5 win in a back-and-forth game at Capital City Stadium.
The roller-coaster affair, which featured four lead changes, ultimately turned in favor of Columbia in the seventh inning, when they scored the tying and go-ahead runs off reliever Jordan Knutson. Knutson allowed a leadoff double to Trevor Bradley, followed by an infield hit to Michael Bell. An RBI groundout an RBI infield hit then gave the Blowfish a 6-5 lead, which they would not relinquish.
The Blowfish then tacked on three more insurance runs in the eighth off of relievers Matt Tindall and Logan Hershenow. Tindall allowed two hits and hit a batter, while Hershenow also allowed a single as the Blowfish plated three runs in the inning.
“We have to throw strikes, and first pitch strikes,” said pitching coach Aaron Meade. “Just consistency from each and every guy. We have to have people be consistent when they are out there, we have to know what we are getting. We seem to be finding different ways to lose, but you’ll see when we start winning all those little things will go our way. We have to keep working and keep getting after it.”
Despite the loss, it was another heavy offensive output from the Marlins, who scored five runs and had their second straight double-digit hit game, with 12 base knocks. All five runs came off Blowfish starter Michael Carpin.
“It’s just coming down to execution now,” Caputo said. “As soon as we start putting that together, with the amount of hits we have been having we are going to be alright.”
Three of those five runs were scored in the first when Caputo took him deep to straightaway left and over the outfield wall for a three-run home run. It was Caputo’s second home run of the season, tying him with Nick Lombardi for the team lead, and it was the first home run of the season for the Marlins with runners on base. Caputo now has five-RBI, which is tied with Matt Simmons for second on the team.
“He threw me a fastball up and in and I was looking in,” Caputo said. “He just put it in the right spot and I put a good swing on it. My timing was a little off the last couple games but I shortened up my stride and my load, starting thinking middle away and it’s starting to come together for me now.”
The Marlins also touched up Carpin in the sixth, stringing together singles from Blake Graham and Nick Lombardi followed by a hit by pitch to Johnny Caputo to load the bases with nobody out. The Blowfish opted to go to the left-hander Cody Dix to face Matt Simmons, so the Marlins counteracted with Quincy Nieporte as a pinch-hitter. Nieporte skied a drive to center field, deep enough to score Graham and give the Marlins the 5-4 lead.
For Graham, it was his second run scored and third hit of the game. To that point, he had hits in five of his last six at bats out of the leadoff spot.
“When he gets on base you see the results, especially when you have Lombardi and Caputo hitting right behind him,” head coach Sam Carel said.
Whitman Barnes, who was making just his first start since his debut on May 30, lasted four innings and allowed four runs on four hits while striking out three. What was otherwise a solid outing was marred by a couple of mistakes—a two run home run on a high off-speed pitch from Trevor Bradley in the second, and an RBI double to Robbie Streett in the third. He rebounded to retire the side in order in the fourth and keep it a tie game as he handed the ball over to the bullpen.
“He was good early,” Meade said. “His biggest thing is he has to be more consistently down in the zone. He gets up in the zone sometimes and the ball gets hammered, but when he’s not he has great stuff.”
The Marlins conclude their five-game road trip on Wednesday night against the fourth place Wilson Tobs at Fleming Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
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