A-ball Clubs Come Out Victors (4/14 Recaps)

Friday night saw fireworks go off in West Michigan, in more ways than one. After a Mike Hollimon home run, the Devil Rays elected to go after the 'Caps star Cameron Maybin with a fastball to the neck, clearing both benches. Neither Toledo or Erie got beaned, but neither team left victorious either.

AAA Toledo Mud Hens - 3-6, 3rd in West division
B.J. Upton brought the hometown crowd to it's feet in miracle fashion, belting a two-out grand slam home run, to lead the Durham Bulls (8-1) to a 5-4 comeback win on their season opener at home over the visiting Toledo Mud Hens (3-6), last night in Raleigh. Mud Hens' right hander Colby Lewis pitched six respectable innings, striking out four and allowing just one run. John Ennis and Corey Hamman combined in middle relief to pitch two scoreless innings before Lee Gardner was summoned from the Mud Hens bullpen to close the game in the ninth. Gardner struggled, walking three batters to load the bases, setting the stage for Upton's ninth inning heroics. Mud Hens Manager Larry Parrish then went to Mark Woodyard (0-2) to shut the door, but Woodyard was unable to get the final out, offering up the grand slam blast by Upton. Right hander Jamie Shields started for the Bulls, but was roughed up for three runs through 6-1/3 innings. Chad Orvella came on in relief allowing another Toledo run in the eighth, before Justin Miller (2-0) took the mound in the ninth to retire the side and pick up his second win on the season. The Mud Hens controlled the game offensively through the first eighth innings building up a comfortable 4-1 lead. Brian Peterson led the way for Toledo, belting his first home run of the season off Orvella in the eighth. Don Kelly and Alexis Gomez both hit doubles and along with Jack Hannahan each had an RBI in the game. The two teams will play game two of their four game series with lefthander Lance Davis ( 0-1, 5.40) taking the mound for Toledo where he'll face Bulls left hander Chris Seddon (1-0, 0.00) tonight beginning at 5:00 pm in Raleigh.
- Tim Law, Toledo Correspondent

AA Erie SeaWolves - 2-7, t-5th in Southern division
The SeaWolves let a few great performances go to waste, losing to the Bowie Baysox 6-4. After a shaky start by starter Preston Larrison, in which he gave up five runs and two homers, a normally weak bullpen held Bowie without an earned run. On offense, Kody Kirkland hit two homeruns, once in the fourth inning and another in the eighth. Unfortunately, both of the hits came with the bases empty. Defense still seems to be a problem for the team, as they totaled three errors on the day. Erie continues the series in Jerry Uht Park, Saturday night at 6:35.
- Sam Ginsburg, Erie Correspondent

High-A Lakeland Tigers - 4-5, t-3rd in West division
Lakeland scores 6 runs in the seventh to beat Sarasota 6-2. Jair Jurrjens picks up his first win of the year by allowing one run in 6 strong innings. Nick McIntyre and Jackson Melian both had triples in the 7th, driving in two runs each. Kevin Whelan came on in the 9th and picked up his 4th save of the season. The L-Tigers host Sarasota Saturday night at 6:00pm.
- Steve Varcardipone, Lakeland Correspondent

A West Mich. Whitecaps - 4-4, 4th in East division
The West Michigan Whitecaps beat the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays 8-5, on an electric evening at Fifth Third Ballpark. Fireworks erupted this evening in the bottom of the third inning as Devil Rays pitcher Greg Reinhard hit Cameron Maybin in the back of the neck, barely missing his head, after a towering two run shot by Mike Hollimon, clearing both benches. Starting pitcher Eric Averill (0-1) retaliated in the top of the fourth by hitting the first Devil Ray batter he saw, which cleared the benches again. Averill lasted six innings spreading four runs, three earned, on seven hits, while striking out three Devil Rays. The win went to Matt Rusch (1-1) who pitched two innings, giving up one run on one hit while striking out two. The hero of the night for the ‘Caps was left fielder Justin Justice, who fell just a home-run short of the cycle, going four-for-four with a single, two doubles, a triple, one batted in and two runs scored. Mike Holliman who had the riot inciting home-run to deep right-center, added a triple in the 'Caps eighth and finished the night 2-for-5 with three batted in. Ryan Roberson had an impressive triple to right center and finished the night 1-for-4. Cameron Maybin had a single in the first, but didn't seem able to shake off the throw at the head, finishing the evening 1-for-4. The 'Caps face the Devil Rays again the 15th at 2:00 with Sendy Vasquez (0-0) taking the mound against Jason Cayton (0-1).
- Jared Wells, West Michigan Correspondent

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