W – Eyre (1-0)
SV – Murray (1)
HR – Diaz (1), Gold (1)
The RedHawks got their first win of the season in dramatic fashion on Thursday night, as Freddy Guzman scored the game-winning run on a ninth inning Victor Diaz double. Diaz, who was 2-for-5, also homered in the first inning.
Playing in his first Triple-A game, slugging first baseman Nate Gold went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and a walk. Third baseman Tug Hulett, who was also making his RedHawks debut, singled and walked in four plate appearances. Having walked 182 times over the past two seasons, taking a free pass is nothing new for the Auburn University product.
Starting pitcher John Koronka yielded four runs on six hits over six innings, walking two and fanning five. Koronka allowed three first inning runs, but settled down to retire 11 of the next 12 hitters that he faced.
Willie Eyre was dominant in relief of Koronka, as he allowed just one hit in 2.1 scoreless frames. Eyre struck out three. Southpaw A.J. Murray picked up the save, retiring the final two batters of the game.
W – Bumstead (1-0)
SV – Ingram (1)
HR – Mahar (1)
Oklahoma wasn't the only club to win in their last at-bat on Thursday. Kevin Mahar launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel the RoughRiders to a 3-2 victory. The outfielder finished strong last season, hitting .300 with 11 home runs in the season's final two months.
Making a minor league start before joining the Rangers' rotation, Jamey Wright allowed two runs on six hits in four innings. Wright struggled at times, but settled down in his final two innings.
The bullpen did an outstanding job in relief of Wright, as Steven Rowe, Randy Williams, Michael Bumstead, and Jesse Ingram combined to toss five innings of hitless relief.
In his first Triple-A at-bat, first baseman Emerson Frostad smoked a double to the opposite field, scoring left fielder Steve Murphy.
W – Giles (1-0)
SV – Wilson (1)
HR – Boggs (1), Mayberry (1)
Not wanting to break the trend, the Bakersfield Blaze also won their 2007 season opener in their final at-bat. Down 6-5 entering the top of the ninth inning, Brandon Boggs put the Blaze on top with a three-run blast off Lancaster closer Blake Maxwell. Matt Smith added extra insurance with a run-scoring single later in the frame.
But Boggs (2/4, 2B, HR, BB) and Smith (2/3, BB) weren't the only stars for the Bakersfield offense. Top prospect John Mayberry got his 2007 campaign off on the right foot, going 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and four runs batted in. First baseman Freddie Thon and designated hitter Jake Blalock each with 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
Starting pitcher Michael Schlact gave up three runs over five innings, but he was effective for all but three hitters. The right-hander gave up two consecutive singles followed by a three-run homer to start the third inning. Of the final 13 hitters Schlact faced, the Georgia native allowed just one ball to leave the infield.
Chris Davis doubled in his first California League contest
W – Poveda (1-0)
SV – Gudex (1)
HR – Gomez (1)
The LumberKings rounded off a clean sweep for the Rangers organization on opening night. The victory was especially nice to see for Clinton, which finished with a league-worst 45-94 record in 2006.
Clinton's bats were hot on a cold night in Iowa, where temperatures were in the mid-30's with winds of up to 25 miles per hour. The L-Kings pushed across eight runs on 11 hits with first baseman Mauro Gomez leading the way. Gomez, who was 1-for-4, hit a three-run homer in the top of the first inning.
Outfielder Grand Gerrard, the Rangers' seventh round pick last season, had three hits – including a double and a walk – in four at bats. The 6-foot-4 Gerrard also swiped a pair of bases.
John Whittleman, who drew praises for his plate discipline in 2006, drew four walks from four different pitchers in the contest. The native Texan committed a pair of errors at the hot corner. There were nine errors between the two clubs. At one point, the Swing committed errors on three consecutive balls put into play.
Craig Gentry and Jose Vallejo, who each went 2-for-5, flashed their speed by bunting for base hits early in the game. Designated hitter Chad Tracy tripled in his Single-A debut.
Despite all of the offensive firepower, 19-year-old hurler Omar Poveda was the story of the night. Poveda surrendered one run on three hits in five innings of work. Though Poveda coaxed just three groundouts versus ten via the air, seven of the flyouts were infield popups.
Former Iowa Hawkeye Tim Gudex closed out the victory by fanning three in 2.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless ball. Gudex, who joined the Iowa team as a walkon in 2002, had 10 saves and a 1.15 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .144 average with the Hawkeyes in 2006.