Bees blast way to Game One victory

The Burlington Bees opened the 2008 Midwest League Championship Series with a 6-0 victory over the visiting South Bend Silver Hawks on Wednesday night. The Bees, backed by an outstanding start by Daniel Gutierrez, slammed three homers in the process of taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

The first of two Championship Series games scheduled at Burlington's Community Field, the Bees dominated throughout. They jumped to a 4-0 lead in the third inning when with two on and one out, second baseman Johnny Giavotella singled home Juan Rivera. Up stepped Mike Moustakas, who slammed a pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run.

That was all starting pitcher Daniel Gutierrez needed, as he masterfully carved up the Silver Hawk lineup. In what was likely Gutierrez's final outing of the 2008 campaign, the 21-year old right hander saved perhaps his best for last. Gutierrez went six shutout innings, yielding just two hits and a walk while striking out 11. The 11 strikeouts was a season high for Bees pitchers this year, eclipsing a 10 strikeout game by Joe Augustine in April.

The Bees added two solo homers late in the game to push the final margin of victory to 6-0. Jamar Walton hit a ball off the right field scoreboard for his second postseason home run in the sixth inning, and Giavotella followed an inning later with a blast to left.

After Gutierrez's exit, the Bees brought in three relievers to close out the final three innings. Anthony Bradley, Paul Raglione, and Barry Bowden each threw scoreless innings, allowing just one runner to reach base on an error by first baseman Jason Taylor.

The two teams square up again for a 6:30 PM start tomorrow night at Community Field, which will be the last Bees home game of the year. The series shifts to South Bend for the final three games.

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