By: Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
While the Buffalo Bisons won their season opener with fireworks a player making his Triple-A debut, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats dropped both ends of their opening double header. In A-ball, the Dunedin Blue Jays won their second in a row from the Clearwater Threshers and the Lansing Lugnuts held on to win their home opener to make it three wins in a row.
Buffalo Bisons 4, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders 2
Rowdy Tellez announced his presence with authority on Saturday as the Buffalo Bisons opened their season with a 4-2 victory over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Tellez hit solo home runs in his first two at bats, going 2/4 and getting the Bisons’ offense going for on the season. Newcomer Chris Coghlan was 2/4 with two walks and an RBI but was caught stealing twice. Dwight Smith, Jr. also had two hits in his Triple-A debut, going 2/3 with a run while another first-time Triple-A player, Jason Leblebijian, was 1/2 with a walk.
After Casey Lawrence had been promoted to the Blue Jays, veteran righty Jarrett Grube was pressed into service for the start and he went five innings, giving up just two runs on six hits without walking anyone and striking out three batters. Leonel Campos allowed the runner he inherited from Grube to score but managed to finish the sixth inning, walking two and giving up a hit with one strikeout. Chad Girodo came on to throw 1 2/3 innings of perfect baseball and Danny Barnes picked up his first save of the season by getting the final four outs, striking out one.
Player of the Game: Rowdy Tellez
Roster Notes: Dominic Leone was demoted from Toronto and Casey Lawrence was promoted and added to the 40-man roster.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 0, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 2
Despite a strong start from the Jays’ top pitching prospect Sean Reid-Foley, the offense couldn’t manage to score on eight hits, falling to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies by a 2-0 score. Reid Foley left the game early, with just two outs in the bottom of the second after striking out two (and allowing a single) in the first.
In the second, Reid-Foley walked a batter and gave up two singles to start the inning but got a fly out and then a force-out ground ball, scoring a run before he was pulled for Luis Santos. Santos went 3 1/3 innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks with one strikeout. Chris Rowley made his Double-A debut, striking out a pair and giving up a hit in his two innings of work.
The Fisher Cats batters couldn’t do anything with Richard Urena‘s three hits as he went 3/3 to start the season. Following him in the order, Anthony Alford was 2/3 while Reese McGuire was 1/2 with a walk.
Player of the Game: Richard Urena
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 8
The Binghamton Rumble Ponies exploded for seven runs in the fifth to sweep the double header with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats with a 7-2 win. Connor Greene got the start for the Fisher Cats and struggled with his control through the first two innings, walking a pair but also striking out three and getting three ground outs. Greene found a groove in the third, retiring the Rumble Ponies in order but walked the first two batters in the fourth before getting out of the inning unscathed.
The fifth inning became a quagmire for Greene as a leadoff work and three plays in the infield brought in a run before Tim Mayza relieved Greene. Mayza allowed five consecutive hits including two doubles before he retired a batter and Dusty Isaacs came on to relieve Mayza and got the next batter to ground out. After the fifth inning had concluded, the books were closed on Greene who was charged with three runs on one hit and five walks in 4 1/3 innings with four strikeouts while Mayza was charged with four runs on six hits with one strikeout in just one-third of an inning. Isaacs went on to work two innings, allowing a run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts before Carlos Ramirez retired the only batter he faced on a groundout to end the game.
The offense remained quiet for the Fisher Cats who scored two runs on a home run from catcher Raffy Lopez in the fifth inning. Anthony Alford had another two hits and a walk and was picked off and caught stealing while Gunnar Heidt was 1/2 with a walk.
Player of the Game: Raffy Lopez
Dunedin Blue Jays 12, Clearwater Threshers 6
There was offense galore in Dunedin as the Blue Jays and Threshers combined for 18 runs but it was the Blue Jays who finished on top by a 12-6 score thanks to a seven-run seventh inning in which 11 men came to the plate. Max Pentecost (2/5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R) got that seventh inning off to a flying start after hitting a two-run home run to drive in D.J. Davis‘s (1/4, BB, SB, 3 R) walk.
Juan Kelly (2/5, 2 2B, R) got things rolling again with a double and he was followed by a walk from Derrick Loveless (1/2, 3 BB, RBI, R), a single from Mike Reeves (1/4, BB, 2 R), a walk from Matt Dean (1/3, 3B, 2 BB, RBI, R) and a single from Connor Panas (2/4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R). Andrew Guillotte (1/4, 2B, 3 RBI) drove in two more with a double before Jacob Waguespack was able to strike out D.J. Davis and Max Pentecost to end the inning.
T.J. Zeuch started the game but only pitched one inning, giving up a hit and striking out one before coming out of the game. Ryan Cook followed with three innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out four before Jared Carkuff was hammered for six runs off seven hits including two home runs in just two innings of work. Tom Robson had a strong season debut with a hit allowed and one strikeout over two innings, earning the win while Justin Shafer finished off the game with an inning of scoreless relief, allowing a hit and striking out two.
Player of the Game: Max Pentecost and Connor Panas
Roster Notes: Jared Carkuff was assigned to the D-Jays out of extended spring training and Deiferson Barreto was assigned to extended spring training from the D-Jays.
Lansing Lugnuts 9, Great Lakes Loons 8
The Lansing Lugnuts defeated the Great Lakes Loons to in their home opener in Cooley Law School Stadium, going to 3-0 to start their season in a wild game that saw the 17 total runs scored with the Lugnuts holding on for a 9-8 win. Bradley Jones led the offense, going 3/5 with his first home run as a Lugnut and two runs.
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. had two hits including a double and an RBI while Michael De La Cruz also had two hits and a walk, driving in three while Nick Sinay was 2/3 with a stolen base. Edward Olivares was 1/5 and also hit a home run, driving one in and scoring twice adding an outfield assist by throwing out Brendon Davis at second base. Bo Bichette was 1/4 with a run, a stolen base and an RBI and was also hit by a pitch.
Patrick Murphy wasn’t greeted kindly by the Loons in his first start of the year and the big rightly allowed six runs in five-plus innings, allowing nine hits and a walk while striking out four. Zach Jackson earned the win (and a blown save) but also allowed two runs on two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Jackson McClelland got the save, striking out three in two innings and giving up a hit and a walk.
Player of the Game: Bradley Jones