Kernels win home opener; Bees fall on road

The Kernels finally got on the field again Friday and claimed the system's only victory as Tim Schoeninger picked up where he left off last year. The Bees' bats were quieted on the road while Steve Shell made his return to Triple-A in the bullpen. Rancho scored early, but couldn't do anything after the first inning.

Bees slowed down on the road
After opening the season 6-1 at home, Salt Lake stumbled in their first road game of the season, falling 5-1 to Las Vegas. The club had scored more than five runs a game during their four game match-up at Franklin Covey Field, but collected just four hits Friday. In 2006, the Bees had an OPS 120 points higher at home than on the road.

Steven Shell made his first appearance with Salt Lake after getting promoted from Arkansas earlier in the day. The club's third-round pick in 2001 is making the conversion to the bullpen after starting all but two of his 124 appearances over the last five seasons. The righty worked four scoreless innings and allowed just two hits, striking out two in the process.

Terry Evans continued his strong start, homering for the third time in XX at-bats. Last season, he averaged one bomb every 15 at-bats after going more than 35 at-bats between homers in his first four seasons. The right-handed hitter finished the night 2-for-3 and is hitting .367 on the year.

Arkansas rained out
Continuing a theme on the early season, the Travs took their turn getting a game cancelled. They will try to make it up as part of a doubleheader Saturday with Nick Adenhart and Chris Saenz starting the two contests.

Quakes fall 7-3 in San Jose
Rancho Cucamonga got off to a fast start, scoring three runs with the benefit of only one hit in the first inning, but could manage nothing else all night as they fell to the Giants for the second night in a row.

Eric Thomas made his first appearance in the Angels organization, giving up four runs in three innings while taking the loss for Rancho. The 26-year old, signed as a free agent this January, has appeared in only 26 games since the Brewers selected him in the third round of the 2002 draft. Showing the good velocity and poor command that has been the trademark of his career, Thomas gave up only one hit and struck out five, but also walked five and threw three wild pitches.

Catcher Flint Wipke was the only Quakes hitter with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. The catcher, who hit .236 while striking out 110 times in 403 at-bats for Cedar Rapids last season, had opened the year going 0-for-7 with five whiffs. The catcher had a rougher night behind the plate than at it, having all four stolen base attempts succeed.

Nate Sutton was held hitless to snap his seven-game hitting streak. The righty is still sitting at .375 for the year.

Cedar Rapids get on the field, win
The third time was the charm as the Kernels finally played their home opener, downing Wisconsin 4-2 behind a strong start by Tim Schoeninger and just enough offense. Schoeninger, 22, gave up one run on three hits while striking out seven and walking just one Rattlers hitter. The righty, taken in the 23rd round last year out of the University of Nevada, never walked more than one batter in his 14 appearances in the Arizona League last summer while posting a 1.79 ERA.

Outfielder Stantrel Smith, 23, had a pair of hits, scored a run and drove one in to pace the offense. The athletic outfielder, who has seen action in left field so far this year, struggled in his first Midwest League experience last year, hitting just .210 in 243 at-bats. He will be focused on making more consistent contact this year after striking out 56 times in 2006.

Shortstop P.J. Phillips, who had impressed Angels player development chief Tony Reagins with his preparedness when he arrived in Tempe this spring, hasn't been able to carry it into the start of the season. The club's second-round pick in 2005 committed his third error of the young season while going 0-for-3 at the plate and is now hitting just .083 with four strikeouts in 12 at-bats.

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