Opening Day starter Christian Friedrich pitched well for the Sky Sox in New Orleans, but was let down by his offense in a 2-1 loss. For his part, Friedrich allowed just one run on four hits in five innings of work, walking one and striking out nine. However, he left with his team trailing 1-0.
Boone Logan and Rob Scahill each pitched a scoreless inning to hold the deficit at one entering the top of the eighth, when left fielder Tim Wheeler (No. 27 PuRP) tripled and scored the Sky Sox lone run of the night on a Michael McKenry sacrifice fly.
Manny Corpas could not preserve the tie in the bottom half of the inning, giving up a single to New Orleans left fielder Kyle Jensen, who had homered earlier in the game, and a double to first baseman Justin Bour to give the Zephyrs the 2-1 they would hold for good. Zephyrs closer Brian Hatcher slammed the door on the Sky Sox in the ninth.
In his first start of 2014, Eddie Butler (No. 2 PuRP) picked up right where he left off in 2013, allowing a run on three hits in five innings, walking one and striking out five and needing just 67 pitches to do so.
Despite Butler's effort, the Drillers trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, which shortstop Christhian Adames (No. 13 PuRP) led off with a game-tying home run off Hooks closer Jorge De Leon, sending the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth, the Hooks got a run in the top of the 11th when Preston Tucker scored on a sacrifice fly to give his team a 4-3 lead. The Drillers fought back again in the bottom of the 11th, with a walk, a single, an error, a run-scoring groundout and a walk-off wild pitch providing the two runs they needed for a 5-4 victory.
High A - Bakersfield Blaze 9, Modesto Nuts 5
It was an ugly Opening Day for Nuts starter Ben Alsup, who allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-5 loss to Bakersfield.
It was, however, a good start offensively for the Nuts, who had 11 hits in the game including four doubles, one of which came from shortstop Trevor Story (No. 6 PuRP), who was 2-for-4 in the opener. Catcher Will Swanner (No. 24 PuRP) was 2-for-4 as well.
Playing third base, Rosell Herrera (No. 4 PuRP) was 1-for-4 in his Modesto debut.
The Tourists' star-studded offense got off to a fine start in 2014 with an 8-3 win over Delmarva. Every Asheville starter had at least one of the team's dozen hits on the night.
In his return to action, center fielder David Dahl (No. 3 PuRP) got the scoring started with a triple that brought home second baseman Michael Benjamin. After a walk to Ryan McMahon (No. 7 PuRP), who was 2-for-3 on the day, Dahl scored the Tourists' second run on a ground out. With the Tourists leading 3-0 in the fourth and runners on the corners, left fielder Raimel Tapia (No. 16 PuRP) drove home the team's fourth run with a bunt single. At that point, the rout was on, with Asheville leading 8-0 after six innings and cruising to victory.
Starting pitcher Johendi Jiminian also played his part in the rout, allowing just a pair of singles and two walks in six shutout innings, striking out three.