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Columbus Rolls To 9-1 Win Over Westminster Christian

Alex Rodriguez throws out the first pitch on Monday night at the University of Miami where Columbus defeated Westminster Christian. Photo by Glenn Sattell

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The Columbus Explorers picked a most opportune time to turn in their best performance of the season. Monday night in Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on the campus of the University of Miami, the Explorers (8-2) extended their win streak to six games with a convincing 9-1 win over the #1 team in the first HSBN Miami Power Rankings of the season, Westminster Christian.

With Rodriguez himself in attendance, Columbus put on a show amid a steady drizzle with a most impressive execution of the game. It was highlighted by an outstanding pitching performance from Frederico Zapata, who hurled a complete-game three-hitter.

After giving up a run in the first inning, Zapata shut down the Warriors (7-2) the rest of the way with an impressive mix of pitches from an assortment of arm angles.

“I just came in with the mindset that we were just going to attack and we’re going to attack early,” Zapata said. “Our intensity, we kept it throughout the whole game.”

It was also a solid defensive effort by the Explorers that helped carry Zapata to the finish line.

“They’ve always helped me out,” he said. “They’ve helped me out the whole season. It’s a lot of appreciation because I know I can throw strikes and they’ve got my back.”

At the plate, the Explorers hit in the clutch and consistently moved runners over in other ways as well.

“Every time we asked to get a bunt down, we got a bunt down; drag bunts to squeezes to moving them over,” said Columbus manager Joe Weber. “They did a great job in execution. I thought we did a great job with two strikes, fouling a lot of pitches off, making their guy throw extra pitches.

“I thought it was probably the best game we played all year.”

Columbus pitcher Federico Zapata threw a complete game three-hitter, striking out six on Monday in the Explorers’ 9-1 win over Westminster Christian. Photo by Glenn Sattell

Ryan Cainzos led the attack with three hits, including a double, drove in two runs and scored two more. He also stole a base.

“It was a great day,” Cainzos said. “I was just going to swing on a good pitch and try to get something going. I just came to hit the ball today.”

Playing on the home field of the Hurricanes was an extra incentive and somewhat of a payback for Cainzos.

“It’s a great experience,” said the senior. “I played here my sophomore year and I lost here. So, this makes up for it.”

Columbus lead-off hitter Carlos Jacome did his job getting on base and scored three times. Anthony Gonzalez slapped a two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning as the Explorers began to pull away, scoring in every inning but the third.

Westminster Christian’s Allan Jorge makes contact in the Warriors’ game on Monday. Photo by Glenn Sattell

Julian Gonzalez delivered two hits, stole a base and scored a run for Columbus while Nickolas Mora was productive at the plate with a bunt single, two RBIs, a stolen base, and two runs scored. In addition, Lester Martinez tripled and scored a run.

It just wasn’t the best of days for the Warriors, who scratched across their lone run in the opening frame when Jake Suarez walked and scored on a single by Chris Carroll and an RBI grounder off the bat of D’Angelo Ortiz.

“When you make six errors in any game, you’re not going to win,” said Westminster Christian manager Emil Castellanos. “That’s the bottom line. We hit some balls really hard tonight and we hit them right at people. We didn’t catch any breaks. They caught a couple breaks and they capitalized.

“It’s always fun to come out here and play,” he said of the Division I ballpark. “It’s always more fun when you’re in the win column but that’s part of the game.”

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