So far in this young season, the Las Vegas 51s had scored a total of nine runs in five games. In their opening series against El Paso they collected 40 hits, but stranded a busload of runners in the process. How quickly things can change.
Tuesday night, Las Vegas returned to Cashman Field for their home opener. After a lackluster start against El Paso in which he gave up four runs in four innings, lefty Adam Wilk was looking to bounce back against the Fresno Grizzlies. Wilk got off to a good start. After a one-out single by Fresno’s Derek Fisher, Wilk picked him off first. A groundout followed, so he faced the minimum.
After a 1-2-3 second by Wilk, the Grizzlies tied the game in the third on a pair of doubles. But the 51s got that run back when second baseman Gavin Cecchini walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Reynolds walked and then Rosario plated Cecchini as he reached on a fielder’s choice. So far so good, getting runners on, then getting them home. And Las Vegas kept the pressure on the Grizzlies’ pitchers, scoring in every inning for the rest of the game.
The 51s added three in the 4th, six in the 5th, four in the 6th, one in the 7th and five more in the 8th for a total of 21 runs on 19 hits. They also took advantage of nine walks and a hit batter. They batted around twice, first in the 6th when they knocked out Fresno righty starter David Martinez. They victimized righty reliever Jared Mortensen scoring eight runs off him in 1.2 innings. Finally they batted around again in the 8th. Vegas hit three home runs as part of the onslaught, one each by first baseman Dominic Smith, third baseman Phillip Evans, and Cecchini. It was the first home run of the season for each of the three players.
While the 51s batters felt right at home in their hitter-friendly park, the Grizzlies could not take similar advantage because of Wilk. In 6 innings, the Vegas starter scattered five hits, giving up only two runs, walking none, and striking out four. Righty Ben Rowen came on in relief of Wilk and pitched a scoreless 7th, but struggled in the 8th, surrendering four runs on five hits and only retiring one. Righty Cory Burns picked up Rowen, finishing the 8th and closing the game out with a scoreless 9th.
Smith went 4 for 6, scoring four runs and driving in three. He had two singles, a double and a home run. Rosario was 3 for 6 with two runs scored and two RBI. Both Smith and Rosario are hitting over .400 through six games to start their Triple-A careers.
Catcher Kevin Plawecki was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Cecchini, Reynolds, right fielder Travis Taijeron, and Evans each collected two hits on the night. Center fielder Desmond Jennings also had a bases-clearing triple. Wilk earned the win with his strong six-inning outing.