Toledo Mud Hens 4, Louisville Bats 3 (F/11) (box)
The Hens jumped out to an early 3-1 lead backing starter Ryan Carpenter with runs in each of the first three innings. Carpenter was solid over four innings, but a little wild, allowing three hits, three walks, and one run across four frames. He also punched out four on the night. After the Bats scored one in the first, Victor Reyes doubled home Ronny Rodriguez in the bottom half of the frame to tie it up. Danny Woodrow drew a bases loaded walk in the second inning, while Brandon Dixon cracked a solo shot in the third to build a two-run lead.
Reliever Paul Voelker allowed the Bats within one by surrendering a run in the fifth. Eduardo Paredes then blew the lead in the eighth, forcing Zac Houston to come on for extra innings. He blanked the Bats over two innings, setting up a walk-off victory when Woodrow dropped down a squeeze bunt and Willi Castro raced home to win in 11 innings.
Castro: 2-5, 2 R
Woodrow: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB
Carpenter: 4.0 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Coming up next: The Hens look to make it three in a row to start the season as they host the Bats again on Saturday. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. ET as Beau Burrows makes his Triple-A debut.
Erie SeaWolves 11, Trenton Thunder 1 (box)
The SeaWolves won on Opening Day behind a solid season debut from Matt Manning. Manning wasn’t exactly sharp, and was visibly frustrated as he lost his fastball command briefly with a few batters, but other than two solidly struck balls he almost casually dominated the Thunder lineup. The curveball was erratic on a chilly night in Erie, but he threw his share of good ones and mixed in a few nice changeups as well. Manning sat 93-95 miles per hour with his fastball, threw 33 of his 68 pitches for strikes, and looked like he had added some muscle in the offseason. The whiffs on his heater were plentiful.
Meanwhile, the SeaWolves’ offense was going off in a big way. Josh Lester launched a solo home run to right field in the fourth to knot things at one run apiece, and then the bats erupted in the middle innings. Derek Hill had three hits, including a triple, from the leadoff spot, while Isaac Paredes mashed his first home run of the season deep to left in the sixth. Cam Gibson doubled and tripled in this one, and after a four-run sixth inning the score was 8-1 as the SeaWolves pulled away.
Hill: 3-5, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SO
Paredes: 2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, HBP
Gibson: 2-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, SO
Manning (W, 1-0): 5.0 IP, H, ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
Coming up next: Alex Faedo will take on RHP Brody Koerner on Saturday at 1:35 p.m. ET.
Tarik Skubal took the ball on Friday night, and showed why many are excited about him. The Tigers ninth rounder in 2018, Skubal is a hard-throwing lefty with a power fastball and a nice breaking ball to boot. He spun four innings of one-run ball, walking two with four punchouts to his credit. He was backed by some hard-throwing relief arms. Drew VerHagen made a rehab appearance, tossing a perfect inning. Billy Lescher and Max Green each surrendered an unearned run, while Jason Foley — who touched triple digits before missing the 2018 season to Tommy John Surgery — and Wladimir Pinto wrapped up the eighth and ninth innings with no issues.
Daniel Reyes, who cracked a late two-run shot on Thursday night to help the Flying Tigers win their opener, was the hero in this one as well. Reyes cleared the bases with a third inning triple to pick up three RBI on the night. Center fielder JaCoby Jones doubled a scored a run in his first rehab appearance, though he also struck out three times. Brady Policelli collected a double and a triple, while catcher Austin Athmann had a three-hit game.
Reyes: 1-4, 3B, R, 3 RBI, 2 SO
Policelli: 2-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, SO
Skubal: 4.0 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Coming up next: Elvin Rodriguez takes the ball for the Flying Tigers on Saturday. He will be opposed by the Tarpons’ Glenn Otto.
Bonus: Take a look at hard-throwing lefty and noted wild card, Max Green.
So this happened tonight. @mgreenbaseball, clocked at 98 mph with the FB according to @_jchipman, but absolutely on with the exposed chest. Nuke Laloosh style down there in Lakeland. @sherricousin all over it for me. #DTMLT pic.twitter.com/DDKfgtmyyG— Detroit Tigers MiLB Tracker (@Tiger_Lifer) April 6, 2019
South Bend Cubs 1, West Michigan Whitecaps 0 (box)
Wilkel Hernandez looked good in his season debut for the Whitecaps, but didn’t get any support. Hernandez spun four innings, allowing a run on three hits with four strikeouts and took the loss. Chris Proctor had a pair of hits in the losing effort, while Jose King and Reece Hampton chipped in with a single apiece.
Hernandez (L, 0-1): 4.0 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 SO
Coming up next: Carlos Guzman gets the ball for the Caps on Saturday as the series shifts to Comstock Park. The Cubs will start Eury Ramos. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. ET.