Baseball

Tebow goes deep as Fireflies complete sweep

Tim Tebow runs the bases after hitting a home run.
Tim Tebow runs the bases after hitting a home run. online@thestate.com

One thing is for certain after the Columbia Fireflies completed their four-game sweep of the Augusta GreenJackets with Sunday’s 6-0 victory – the offense is legit and Tim Tebow looks like he’s going to be a part of it.

The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and former NFL player hit his second home run of the season, a three-run blast deep over the right field wall. Tebow has hit safely in all three games he’s played after getting the day off Saturday.

Manager Jose Leger said the way Tebow has handled the pressure of being a high-profile presence has been impressive. He said the left-handed hitting outfielder continuously works to find ways to improve.

“The progress has been absolutely impressive, to be honest with you” Leger said of Tebow. “I saw him in spring training and the way he went about his business, but I’ve seen even more progress here. He made a couple of plays in the outfield today where it seems like he’s been playing there for a while. He works on things every single day.”

Tebow walked, grounded out to second and struck out on a checked swing in his other at-bats. He’s hitting .231 with five RBIs in three games. He’s also scored three runs as the Fireflies outscored the GreenJackets 36-12 in the four games.

“Things are working for (Tebow) right now,” Leger said. “I’m very happy for him. He’s so strong that if he puts the barrel of the bat on the ball, it has a chance to go out of the park.”

Tebow wasn’t the only hitting hero on Sunday. Ali Sanchez got things started with a two-run single in the second inning. Former South Carolina and Spring Valley standout Gene Cone followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0 after two innings. Cone finished 2-for-5. Anthony Dimino added three hits for Columbia, which hasn’t trailed this season.

“These guys have done a tremendous job,” Leger said. “They came here on a mission and have taken that rhythm they developed in spring training and put it into play in the season. I’m happy with everything. The offense, defense, the energy and definitely the pitching.”

Merandy Gonzalez showed why he is regarded as the No. 16 prospect in the Mets organization. The 21-year-old, right-handed pitcher didn’t allow a run in six innings of work. Augusta didn’t have a baserunner advance past second base and was shut out for the second time in the series.

Gonzalez allowed three hits with six strikeouts and a walk. Max Kuhns and Cam Griffin pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit.

“He said he felt really good,” said Leger, who translated for Gonzalez. “His focus was to get ahead on every hitter and he did that.”

Columbia (4-0) continues the seven-game homestand Monday night against Hickory. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Augusta

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Marks cf

4

0

0

0

0

1

Fabian rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

Beltre 2b

4

0

0

0

0

1

Kirby 1b

4

0

2

0

0

0

Heyward dh

4

0

0

0

0

1

Van Horn ss

3

0

0

0

0

1

Bowers c

2

0

0

0

1

2

Fulmer lf

2

0

0

0

1

2

Rivera 3b

3

0

0

0

0

1

TOTALS

30

0

3

0

2

9

Columbia

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Cone cf

5

0

2

1

0

1

Carpio 2b

4

0

0

0

0

1

Tiberi 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

Winningham dh

2

1

1

0

2

0

Dimino dh

4

1

3

0

0

0

Zanon rf

2

1

0

0

2

0

Tebow lf

3

2

1

3

1

1

M. Ramos 3b

3

1

0

0

1

1

Sanchez c

4

0

1

2

0

0

TOTALS

31

6

8

6

6

5

Augusta

000

000

000

0

Columbia

030

030

00x

6

LOB — Augusta 5, Columbia 8. 2B — Kirby, Fabian. HR — Tebow. SB — Zanon.

Augusta

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Adon, L 0-1

1 2/3

1

3

3

4

0

Solter

3

5

2

2

1

3

Morel

2

2

1

1

1

1

Riggs

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

Ruotolo

1

0

0

0

0

1

Columbia

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Gonzalez, W 1-0

6

3

0

0

1

6

Kuhns

2

0

0

0

1

2

Griffin

1

0

0

0

0

1

WP — Adon. HBP — Carpio (by Morel). Umpires — HP: Dillon Wilson 1B: Ben Phillips. T — 2:43. A — 5,936.

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