Tulsa Drillers: The Tulsa Drillers lost their season opener on Friday, as they lost the first game of a doubleheader 7-4. Franklin Morales got the start for the Drillers, and pitched effectively. In six innings of work, Morales struck out six, and allowed three earned runs. He allowed six hits in the game, walking none, though he picked up his first loss of the season. Morales handed the ball off to Matt Daley, who got off to a rough start to his 2007 season. Daley allowed three runs in his only inning of relief, walking one while allowing four hits. Juan Morillo was the final pitcher for the Drillers in Game one, and he struck out a batter in his inning of relief. Morillo allowed an unearned run on one hit, while walking one.
Offensively, Matt Miller led the way for the Drillers, picking up two hits in the contest. The young outfielder hit his first double of the season, and also drove in a run. Second baseman Jeff Dragicevich also picked up two hits in the game, driving in a run. Miller and Dragicevich were the only Drillers with multi-hit games. Joe Gaetti and Tomas Duenas scored runs in the game, while Jonathan Herrera had a forgettable 0-4 night.
Tulsa also dropped game two of the doubleheader, though they made it interesting. Down by two in the eighth innings, the Drillers tied the game up, before losing in 11. Zack Parker got the start for the Drillers in game two, pitching 3.2 innings of two-run ball. He struck out three while walking one. Jentry Beckstead was the first of five Drillers relievers to appear in the game, and he pitched effectively in relief. He threw 1.1 innings of scoreless ball, striking out two. Jarrett Grube had the best appearance out of the bullpen for Tulsa, tossing two innings of no-hit ball, striking out three. Grube will be key to the Drillers bullpen in 2007. Steven Register nearly picked up his first loss of the season, as he allowed two earned runs to Visalia in the top of the eighth. While he was bailed out by his offense, it was a very ineffective appearance. Adam Bright pitched two innings of one-hit ball, and gave way to Tim Olson, who picked up the loss in the game. He allowed two runs, one earned, in his only inning of work.
Only four Drillers position players had hits in the game, with Gaetti leading the way with his first home run of the season. Gaetti had a two-run home run for his only hit of the game. Herrera picked up a hit in the game from his leadoff spot, and also picked up a runs batted in. The top three hitters in the lineup all scored in this game, and Tomas Duenas had a double. The Drillers need to get the bats going if they want to be competitive in 2007.
Modesto Nuts: The Modesto Nuts lost to Visalia on Friday 4-1, as Chaz Roe made his first start of the season. Roe had an up-and-down performance, tossing 4.1 innings of two-run ball. During the start, Roe never pitched with the lead, while striking out three. He walked two while allowing four hits. Darric Merrell struggled in relief for the Nuts, allowing two earned runs in his only inning of work. He walked one and struck out none. Jon George looked good out of the pen for the Nuts, tossing no-hit ball during his 0.2 innings of work, and walked one. Top prospect Pedro Strop had a very successful start to his 2007 season, tossing two innings of no-hit ball. Strop struck out three before giving the ball to Tomas Santiago. Making his second appearance in as many days, Santiago once again pitched scoreless ball.
The bats for Modesto were quiet on this night, and will have to face future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson on Sunday. Only three members of the Nuts picked up hits in the game, and none record a multi-hit effort. Phillip Cuadrado had the only runs batted in during the contest for the Nuts, and he was one of the Nuts to pick up a hit in the game. Dexter Fowler and Jeff Kindel also had hits in the game, and Eric Young scored the only run for Modesto.
Asheville Tourists:The Asheville Tourists beat the Savannah Sand Gnats 6-3 on Friday, as they pretty much led the whole way. Andrew Graham got the start for the Tourists, and he pitched very well on this night. Graham picked up his first win of the season by tossing five innings of four-hit ball, allowing one earned run along the way. In all, Graham struck out five, walking two. Sean Jarrett looked very good in relief for the Tourists, tossing two scoreless innings. The young reliever picked up his first hold of the season, striking out one in his appearance. James Burok made his second appearance in as many games, tossing a scoreless inning of relief. Thomas Baumgardner made his 2007 debut, though he would have been happy with better results. He allowed two earned runs in his only inning of work, striking out one.
Michael Paulk had another solid game at the dish, picking up two hits in the contest. Paulk also scored a run and picked up his first stolen base of the season. Jay Cox was the only other Tourist with a multi-hit game, smacking two hits himself. Cox also got his first double of the season, while scoring a run. Bret Berglund also had a double in the contest, driving in two runs for the Tourists. Catcher Michael McKendry picked up his second stolen base in as many nights.