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Lehigh Valley spoils Red Wings opener

By Mike Rose

Alex Call sprawling for a catch in the first inning of the Red Wings loss Saturday. (Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger)

ROCHESTER, NY -- After four straight postponements of their home opener, the sun finally shined on Innovative Field for the Rochester Red Wings. Unfortunately, the Red Wings couldn't turn the quality conditions into a winning combination as they fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 5-4.

"I was a little concerned with the time off, especially from a pitching standpoint but I thought Mitchell Parker was really good," Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy said. "I thought he gave us a good effort to keep us in the game we just in the middle part of the game didn't make plays that we probably needed to make. We fought and just came up short."

It was a sluggish start for both teams offensively. Rochester starter Mitchell Parker was dominant early allowing one hit through the first three innings with four strikeouts. On the other side, Max Castillo was equally as effective holding the Red Wings hitless through three frames.

Mitchell Parker on the mound during Rochester's home opener Saturday. Parker recorded four innings allowing one hit, one walk and one unearned run. (Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger/Rochester Red Wings)

Lehigh Valley finally found some offense in the fourth. Kody Clemens worked a leadoff walk and a throwing error from Parker set up the IronPigs with runners on second and third with no outs. Parker worked out of the jam but surrendered the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from Jordan Luplow to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead.

Rochester's big inning came in the bottom half of the inning. Catillo retired the lead-off batter before Juan Yepez got the first hit for the Red Wings followed by a base hit from Travis Blankenhorn who recorded the lone mulit-hit effort for Rochester. After a Jake Alu flyout, Carter Kieboom worked a two-out walk to load the bases for Drew Millas. Millas worked an RBI walk to tie the game bringing Jack Dunn to the plate. Dunn stepped up and delivered the big blow of the inning jumping on the first pitch he saw to clear the bases with a three-run triple.

Jack Dunn sliding into third base after his fourth inning triple. Dunn drove in three runs Saturday and has an RBI in every game so far this season. (Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger/Rochester Red Wings)

"My thought process was okay he just walked to guys he's gonna try and get ahead," Dunn said. "The first at-bat I jumped at a fastball up and just missed it so I was ready for the fastball, got a hanging slider and was able to keep my barrel on it."

Lehigh Valley's response was swift as they answered with a three-run fifth to tie the game. Kody Clemens drove in a pair with a two-run single and the tying run crossed home on a wild pitch from Richard Bleier. In the sixth, Scott Kingery completed the comeback with an RBI triple as the IronPigs regained the lead and the score held there for the rest of the game.

Taylor Lehman, Michael Mercado, Ryan Burr and Jose Ruiz combined for 4.2 scoreless innings for the IronPigs to slam the door. Rochester added three hits after the fourth-inning outburst. The best chance for Rochester to tie the game came in the eighth when Blankenhorn and Jake Alu recorded back-to-back two-out hits. Kieboom couldn't cash in, striking out on three pitches.

Alex Call heading back into the dugout during Saturday's loss to Lehigh Valley. (Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger/Rochester Red Wings)

The Red Wings (2-2) and IronPigs (2-2) will make up one of the lost games from early in the week in a twin billing on Sunday afternoon. DJ Herz will make his Triple-A debut for Rochester in game one while Mick Abel is slated for the nod for Lehigh Valley. Game two will feature Joan Adon (0-1, 7.71) and Kolby Allard (0-0, 3.60). The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

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