Long ball powers Lehigh Valley over Rochester
By: Mike Rose
The Rochester Red Wings watched a late lead slip away as they fell to the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs in 10 innings 8-7 on opening day. The Red Wings took a one run lead into the ninth inning of a back and forth game before Aramis Garcia hit a solo home run off Jordan Weems to tie the game. The Ironpigs got a two run shot from Viable Machin in the top of the 10th which proved to be the deciding score. The Red Wings start the season 0-1 with the loss but Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy was happy with the fight from his team.
"I thought we fought really hard, offensively we had two good innings to grab the lead with good team at-bats but we just didn't get it done late on the mound," Leroy said. "We had the right guys in there, the guys that we're gonna depend on to pitch late in games. They made a couple mistakes and they made us pay. But, when you see our guys fight like that I feel pretty good about where we're going"
Rochester jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning when the bottom half of the order got the offense rolling. Travis Blankenhorn roped an RBI triple down the right field line to drive home Stone Garrett and make it 1-0. Yadiel Hernandez followed that up by dropping an RBI double into the triangle in left center field of Innovative Field. Onix Vega brought home Hernandez on an RBI single to make it 3-0 Red Wings after two innings.
Lehigh Valley responded in the fifth rallying against Red Wings starter Joan Don with two outs. An RBI single from Simon Muzziotti chipped the deficit down to two.One batter later, Scott Kingery launched a home run to left field to tie the game up three and chase Adon after 4.2 innings of action.
The seventh inning saw the Ironpigs take their first lead of the night when Muzziotti laced his third hit of the night into right field for an RBI triple. Darren Baker, son of long time major league manager Dusty Baker, would commit a throwing error that went into the Ironpigs dugout, allowing Muzziotti to score and make it a 5-3 edge for Lehigh Valley.
In the bottom half of the frame the Red Wings responded with small ball. Cody Wilson chopped an infield single for one of his three hits in the game. Wilson would steal second and be driven in by another infield single from Baker, cutting the deficit back down to one. Chad Pinder followed with yet another infield single, before both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Matt Adams would then work an eight pitch walk to load the bases. Garrett would then come up with what appeared like it would be the biggest hit of the day, a two run single into left field, to give Rochester the lead back, 6-5, Garrett, the offseason pickup by the Nationals organization, finished 3-5 on the day with three singles. Garrett says it has been an effort for him to try and put together quality at-bats more consistently this season.
"Yea just trying to decrease the amount of strikeouts and increase the amount of contact, especially with two strikes. Obviously the strength is there so just make more contact good things will happen," Garrett said.
The score held firm until Garcia and Machin's late home runs gave the Ironpigs the eventually edge. Rochester tacked on one run in the bottom half of the tenth on a Blankenhorn RBI single but couldn't push in the tying run.
The Red Wings will host Lehigh Valley in game two of their three game series tomorrow at 1:05p.m.