Opening Night had its ups and downs as excellent pitching by Jonathan Martinez and Rob Zastryzny led to wins for Myrtle Beach and Tennessee. Ryan Williams found the going more difficult for Iowa, while Preston Morrison pitched through the snow flurries for South Bend.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (0-1)
Thirty-six degrees and snow flurries are not ideal opening day conditions as South Bend stumbled to a 9-4 loss to Western Michigan. Preston Morrison had some trouble with his location, as he was battered for eight runs (three earned) and struck out two in four innings. Kyle Twomey had a good debut, striking out seven and giving up an earned run in four innings. Three errors and a passed ball contributed to the loss.
The SB Cubs did not score until the fourth when Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) tripled and came home on a single by Eddy Julio Martinez (2-for-4 with a RBI). In the fifth, PJ Higgins (2-for-5 with an RBI) brought Andrew Ely (2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) home with a single.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-0)
Myrtle Beach took a page from last year’s script as Jonathan Martinez had a good debut and David Berg shut the door in 5-2 win over Frederick. Martinez allowed an earned run and struck out a batter in five innings while Daury Torrez and James Pugliese held the Keys to an unearned run for the next three innings. Berg gave up a hit but fanned two in the ninth to pick up his first save.
The offense was opportunistic, taking advantage of two Frederick errors. An RBI single by Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with a RBI) in the second drove in Jason Vosler (0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) with the first run. Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (1-0)
Known for their pitching staff, Tennessee showed that they can also swing the bat as the Smokies thumped Mobile 7-3. Chesny Young (2-for-2 with a home run, two walks, two runs scored and a stolen base) had a sparkling debut, as he blasted a solo home run in the first to get the scoring started. Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) also left the yard in the first with a two run shot. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-1 with a home run) added a pinch-hit homer in the sixth.
Rob Zastryzny had the kind of outing that has been expected for some time. Zastryzny gave up two earned runs and struck out five in six innings. Starling Peralta had a strikeout in 1.2 scoreless innings, while David Garner was tagged with an unearned run in 1.1 innings.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (0-1)
It was a third inning to forget as starter Ryan Williams gave up five runs as the I-Cubs dropped their opener 7-3. Williams was the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year, but was hammered for seven runs (six earned) while striking out two in three innings. Albert Almora Jr. (0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI) scored the first run for Iowa in the second inning on a force play. The I-Cubs added two more runs in the fifth after John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) singled and scored on a base hit from Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a walk and a RBI). A sacrifice fly from Almora brought in Ryan Kalish (0-for-4 with a run scored).