The Richmond Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning on a Billy McCarthy single to beat the Buffalo Bisons 5-4 on Opening Day at the Diamond in Richmond.
Buffalo jumped on Richmond starter Anthony Lerew for three runs in the first four innings, but Braves' relievers Brian O'Connor and Kevin Barry limited the Bisons to one run over the final five innings to keep the Braves close. Barry got the win for Richmond with three scoreless innings of work.
The Braves had two home runs on the day, as James Jurries hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and Wes Timmons hit a solo blast in the seventh inning. But down 4-3 in the eighth, McCarthy got his second hit of the day to drive in the go-ahead runs.
Richmond will send Wes Obermueller to the mound Friday night versus Jeremy Guthrie.
The Huntsville Stars scored two runs in the sixth inning off Mississippi reliever Paul Bush to pull ahead for the 4-2 victory over the Braves on Opening Night at Trustmark Park.
Mississippi faced Brewers' right-hander Ben Sheets, pitching for Huntsville in a rehab start, for the first 2.2 innings. Sheets allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, no walks, and five punch outs. He had trouble with Yunel Escobar, who doubled home Martin Prado in the first inning and singled home Gregor Blanco in the third.
Braves' starter Sean White couldn't make it out of the fourth inning, as the Stars touched him up for two runs on four hits, four walks, and five strikeouts. After Bush gave up the two runs in the sixth inning, the Braves' bullpen settled down as Phil Stockman pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts and Manny Acosta had a scoreless ninth.
The Blue Rocks from Wilmington spoiled Opening Night for the Pelicans and their starter Jake Stevens, as they exploded for seven runs (five earned) off the young lefty in 3.1 innings and hung on for the 8-2 victory.
Wilmington scored one in the first and three runs in both the third and fourth innings to chase Stevens from the game. The Pelicans were a bit sloppy in the field, making three errors on the night.
Offensively, third baseman Van Pope and right fielder Steve Doetsch went 2-for-4. Diory Hernandez had a sacrifice fly and Ardley Jansen drove in a run on a groundout.
Jose Ascanio will head to the mound Friday night as the Pelicans seek their first win of the season.
The Rome Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a thrilling 6-5 comeback win over the Kannapolis Intimidators Thursday night at State Mutual Stadium.
Down 5-3 heading into the final frame, Rome got started with a leadoff triple by outfielder Jordan Schafer, who then promptly scored on a wild pitch. Jamie Romak, Brandon Monk, and then Quentin Davis would have three consecutive singles, with Davis' hit scoring Romak to tie the game at 5. Then Ovandy Suero squeezed home Monk to give Rome the come-from-behind victory.
Rome starter Chris Vines did well in his first start of the season, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits, no walks, and four strikeouts over seven innings of work. Steve Russell pitched the final two innings (one run on one hit, one walk, three strikeouts) to pick up the victory.
Shortstop phenom Elvis Andrus wowed the crowd with several great defensive plays in the field, but went 0-4 with a run scored at the plate.
Right-hander Jairo Cuevas, last year's Pitcher of the Year in the Appalachian League, will go for Rome tonight in game two of the series against the Intimidators.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.