(Article & Photo Courtesy of Lexington Legends)
WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK (Lexington, KY) – Led by stellar pitching by Kris Bubic, the Lexington Legends beat the Columbia Fireflies, 8-4 and now improve to 5-3 on the season. The Legends hold on to the top spot in the Southern Division in the South Atlantic League, 1.0 game ahead of the Charleston RiverDogs and Asheville Tourists.
The Fireflies were first to strike in the top of the third inning. Chandler Avant led off with a double to right field. Anthony Dirocie then grounded to the shortstop, but the first baseman couldn’t hold on to the baseball and Avant scored. Ronny Mauricio doubled home Dirocie and the Fireflies led, 2-0.
The Legends took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning. Jeison Guzman led off with an infield single then moved to third on a single to right field by Rubendy Jaquez. Michael Gigliotti then drew a walk and was joined on the base path by Nathan Eaton. Freddy Fermin singled them home and Lexington jumped out in front, 4-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Gigliotti drew a leadoff walk then Nathan Eaton was hit by a pitch. Eric Cole then blasted a three-run homer 393ft to right field, extending Lexington’s lead 7-2.
Lexington scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Guzman reached on a fielder’s choice then advanced to second on a fielding error by Columbia. Gigliotti doubled home Guzman and the Legends led 8-2.
The Fireflies plated another run in the top of the seventh inning. Juan Uriarte lined a one-out double to left field then scored on an RBI single by Chandler Avant and the Fireflies continued to trail, 8-3.
In the top of the eighth inning, Mark Vientos smashed a solo homer to centerfield, but the Fireflies still trailed 8-4.
Kris Bubic had a career night on the mound for the Legends. He recorded a career high 12 strikeouts in 6.0 innings while allowing two runs (both unearned) on three hits and did not walk a batter. Jaison Vilera was given the loss allowing eight runs on eight hits while walking four in 3.1 innings of work.
The Legends and Fireflies face off again tomorrow night, April 13 at 6:35pm. RHP Tyler Gray will be on the mound for Lexington while Columbia will send RHP Christian James (0-1, 4.50 ERA).
The Legends, a Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and member of the South Atlantic League, play all home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kentucky. For ticket information, call (859) 422-7867 or visit LexingtonLegends.com.