FLORENCE, S.C. – Lexington County was in a gift-giving mood on Saturday night at Sparrow Stadium, and Florence was the lucky recipient.
A pair of errors and a passed ball helped the RedWolves build a 3-0 lead after one inning, and stellar pitching combined with a couple of big hits in the later innings helped them earn a 7-1 victory over the Blowfish.
Florence improves to 13-17 overall and 3-1 in the second half while Lexington falls to 11-20 and 4-2. The RedWolves also took a 5-2 lead in the I-20 Series.
This was the final game before the Coastal Plain League All-Star break, which starts today. Florence returns to action on Wednesday at home against Macon at 7 p.m.
“We took advantage of some mistakes early, our guys put together good at bats throughout the day and our pitching was really good top to bottom,” RedWolves coach Ryan Vruggink said. “It’s always good to break out early – it lets you relax a little bit, and we were able to tack on after that.”
The RedWolves had a lot of help from Lexington. The Blowfish wound up committing three errors, and four pitchers combined to throw four wild pitches. LC was also charged with two passed balls and a balk.
The three-run advantage was more than enough for the Florence pitching staff. Francis Marion standout Isaac Rodgers made his RedWolves debut and pitched a solid five innings. He allowed one run on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
After Luis Acevedo’s two-out RBI single in the second, Rodgers retired eight out of the last 10 batters he faced.
“He mixed really well – he threw four pitches for strikes and that’s going to be the key to his success,” Vruggink said. “Hopefully, he can keep it rolling.”
Four Florence relievers combined to toss four scoreless innings to close out the game. All of them had help from the defense, which turned three double plays on the night.
“Any time you can do that, they’re rally killers,” Vruggink said. “We turned a couple interesting ones today with a 3-6-3 and a 3-6-1, so it was good to see us play some good defense.”
Jon Weisenseel had the big hit in the opening frame with an RBI double. Mitch Barrow’s RBI groundout plated another run and Kenny Piper scored on the second error of the inning by the Blowfish as the RedWolves took a 3-0 lead.
It was 3-1 in the sixth when Barrow walked, took second on a passed ball and came home on a pair of wild pitches.
Florence added two more in the seventh. Nathan Medrano hit a hustling one-out double that fell between two LC defenders and raced home on Jon Mitchell Carter’s double to left. Eldrige Figuero followed with an RBI double of his own to make it 6-1 in favor of the RedWolves.
Zach Durfee doubled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and Grey Epps singled him in to complete the scoring for Florence, who had 10 hits in the game.
Durfee, Figueroa and Nathan Medrano each had two hits to lead the RedWolves. James McConnon and Ian Jenkins each had two hits for the Blowfish as well.
RedWolves INF/OF Michael Richardson was named to the CPL All-Star game this weekend.
Richardson is batting .274 with a homer, 18 RBI and six stolen bases this season.