Rough Opener for the Farm Teams (4/6 Recaps)

Typically, Opening Day reports aren't this depressing, unfortunately, all four Tiger minor league teams lost their season opener on Thursday. There were bright spots though, including a solo home run by Garth McKinney.

AAA Toledo Mud Hens - 0-1, tied 2nd in West division
The Charlotte Knights spoiled the opening day festivities for the hometown Toledo Mud Hens with a narrow 1-0 victory, before a sellout crowd at 5/3 Stadium. Typical in cold weather, pitching was the real story of this match as both teams combine for a 25- strikeout performance. The Knights only run came in the top half of the second inning when catcher Chris Steward drove in Rubin Rivera on a two out single. Rivera was hit by a pitch and reached second when Mud Hens starting pitcher Wil Ledezma walked Casey Rogwsk setting the stage for Stewart. The Mud Hens only close scoring opportunity of the game came in the their half of the first inning. With Nook Logan on third base and Ryan Raburn sitting on second, Knights starter Tim Redding struck the next three batters he faced to retire the side. The Mud Hens threatened again in the sixth inning with runners on first and second, but Mike Hessman failed to produce, grounding out to end the inning. Redding (1-0) pitched 6 shutout innings to pick up his first victory on the season, striking out seven Mud Hen batters and allowing only 4 hits. The Knights bullpen was solid through the late innings with Javier Lopez coming on in the ninth to seal the victory and pickup the save. Ledezma (0-1) was also exceptional through 4 2/3 innings, striking out 9 batters and giving up only 3 hits. The lone run he allowed was earned. Toledo and Knights play game two of their four game series tonight beginning at 7:00 p.m. with Zach Miner getting the nod on the mound for the Mud Hens, where he'll face Nik Lubisich who gets the start for the Knights. Opening weekend ceremonies will also continue this evening for the Mudhens when they receive their 2005 Governor's Cup Championship rings prior to tonight's game.
- Tim Law, Toledo Correspondent

AA Erie SeaWolves - 0-1, tied 4th in Southern division
The Seawolves began the 2006 season with a shaky start, coming out on the wrong side of a classic pitcher's duel, losing to the Harrisburg Senators 2-1 in 10 innings. Pitchers Nate Bumstead, Brian Rogers, Bobby Jones, Chris Homer, and Eulogio De La Cruz combined to give up only six hits and two runs. The Senators didn't score until there were two outs in the ninth, when Homer gave up an RBI double to Kory Casto. De La Cruz gave up the winning run to Saloman Manriquez one inning later. Despite the great pitching, there was very little offense to back it up, as Garth McKinney scored Erie's only run with a solo homerun in the third inning off of the Senator's starter, David Gil. Erie continues its series against Harrisburg tomorrow, at 6:05 pm.
- Sam Ginsburg, Erie Correspondent

High-A Lakeland Tigers - 0-1, 1st in West division
Lakeland struggles offensively and loses opening night to the Tampa Yankees 6-1. Dallas Trahern had a solid outing allowing only three hits and one run in five innings. The Tiger hitters were confused all night scoring their only run in the 9th inning. Jeff Frazier reached base twice and got the only RBI of the game when he knocked in Brent Dlugach with a two-out hit. The Tigers had two errors and a passed ball in the sixth which accounted for three Yankee runs. Lakeland committed 4 errors total for the game. Lakeland faces the Yankees again on Friday night in Tampa.
- Steve Varcardipone, Lakeland Correspondent

A West Mich. Whitecaps - 0-1, tied 4th in East division
The Whitecaps dropped their home opener tonight, as the Wizards rode the Whitecaps pitchers for three home-runs. Aaron French went four innings allowing four runs, three earned, with an impressive seven strikeouts. The loss fell on Jake Baxter's shoulders as he gave up two runs on two back-to-back homers, in just an inning of work. The top third of the Whitecaps had a great night as William Rhymes went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored, and Mike Hollimon went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. However, the story of the night was Cameron Maybin, who, in his professional baseball debut, went 2-for-4 with a screaming triple to dead center in the Whitecaps sixth, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow left field. That wasn't the end of Maybin's night, as he made a spectacular diving catch in left center field to start a double play to end the eighth inning. The Whitecaps play the Wizards again tomorrow night, April 7th as Ramon Garcia will face Grant Varnell.
- Jared Wells, West Michigan Correspondent

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