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Friday Pebble Report: The Other Opening Day

Colorado Springs, L 10-12 - It was a good, old-fashion high-scoring game last night for the Sky Sox, just on the wrong end of it. Greg Reynolds had a rough first inning for the Sky Sox, allowing seven runs on eight hits and a sac fly. Two came off Randy Johnson's bat. After that it was a mostly smooth time over the next three innings. He didn't allow another hit, walked one (two total on the night), and struck out one. Juan Morillo pitched one inning, allowed two runs on a single, and walked three. Alberto Arias and Chris George also allowed runs when they were on the mound.

With two swings of the bat, Jonathan Herrera is just one short of tying his home run number from last year with Tulsa. He had a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run shot in the eighth (he had four RBI total last night). Ian Stewart also had a solo homer last night, and Seth Smith drove in three (two off a single, the other off a double).

Tulsa, L 7-8 (11 innings) - Daniel Carte and Jeff Kindel had back-to-back home runs in the second inning before runs became hard to come by. That is, until the closing innings of the game. Dexter Fowler drove in two on a single to center in the eighth, but was thrown out at second while attempting to stretch it out for a double. Carte smashed a ball for a two-run homer in the ninth (after Nelson scored on a passed ball) to give the Drillers the 7-5 lead. Chris Nelson collected two hits and two errors (fielding, throwing) and leadoff batter Eric Young Jr. went hitless, striking out three times.

Alan Johsnon received the call for Opening Day and had a rough go at it. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowed five runs on seven hits, and walked three. Matt Daley needed all of nine pitches to get through 1 2/3 innings. Casey Weathers made his debut in the eighth, struck out one, and threw seven of his twelve pitches for strikes. Pedro Strop wasn't as hot last night as he blew the save in the ninth inning. He hit the leadoff batter for that inning and allowed a single before yielding the double that tied the game. Jarrett Grube pitched the rest of the game and walked four (one intentional). In the bottom of the 11th, he walked Mitch Einertson and then allowed Eli Iorg to double him in for the victory.

Modesto, W 3-2 - Michael McKenry got off to a good start behind the plate as he threw out two runners in the first inning of the game. He would draw a bases-loaded walk in the seventh to drive in the winning run. Matt Repec and Mike Paulk drove in the other runs, the latter's on a sac fly. Anthony Jackson, a Modesto native, collected three hits and scored twice as the leadoff man. Brian VanderBeek will fill you in on the night Hector Gomez had in the field and at the plate.

Esmil Rogers opened the  season for the Nuts and did so with good results. In five innings, he allowed one run on three hits. After giving up a single to start the game, Rogers didn't allow another hit until a homer in the fifth inning (two of his three walks came during that span).  But Rogers didn't have three wild pitches like his opponent , Fautino De Los Santos.  Nor did he strike out six like Santos (he had two). Andrew Johnston picked up the save, walking one in the process.

Asheville, W 5-3 (11 innings) - Jhoulys Chacin took the mound with pretty good results. The good: 6 IP, 4 K, 1 H, 9-5 GO-FO.  The bad: 5 BB. Matthew Reynolds blew the game in the seventh by allowing four runs. He allowed two singles to start the seventh, loaded the bases on a throwing error, and then allowed a grand slam. Joey Williamson came in for three innings and struck out five. Craig Baker picked up the win after pitching the 11th inning and striking out two batters.

Helder Velzaquez led the offense tonight with two hits and three RBI. His first two RBI came in the fifth on a double, and the third one was the game winner in the eleventh. He also struck out three times. Darin Holcomb had a double and an RBI. Everth Cabrera and Mike Mitchell are starting to compete for stolen bases this season, as Cabrera swiped three and Mitchell had two. Cabrera had a nice start as the leadoff batter with two hits and three walks in addition to the steals. Brian Rike gunned down a runner at home in the bottom of the ninth, ending the opponent's threat to win the game.