RedHawks Split Opening Doubleheader
After rain postponed Thurday night's scheduled season opener in Memphis, the Oklahoma City RedHawks (1-1) and Memphis Redbirds (1-1) split a unique season-opening doubleheader before 8,053 at AutoZone Park Friday night.
In Game 1, the Redbirds used a monster fifth inning to go along with solid pitching to shutout the RedHawks, 9-0. It was the first time since Aug. 10, 2012 the RedHawks were shutout and second time in team history they were shutout in their first game of the season.
The Redbirds struck first with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first by Brock Peterson.
Memphis built upon its lead with a fifth-inning rally. After the Redbirds loaded the bases against Jordan Lyles, Kevin Chapman came out of the bullpen and walked Adron Chambers. Kolten Wong followed with an infield RBI single to make it 3-0.
David Freese-with Memphis on rehab assignment-delivered a two-run double to extend the lead. After another bases-loaded walk made it 6-0, Chad Huffman hit a bases-clearing double to put the Redbirds in command.
The RedHawks had chances to score, but could not convert. They put a runner on base every inning, but went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.
John Gast (1-0) constantly danced out of trouble to hold the RedHawks scoreless over five innings. He allowed four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Memphis reliever Eduardo Sanchez pitched the final two innings to cinch the five-hit shutout.
Jordan Lyles pitched better than his final line indicated and took the Loss. Lyles (0-1) was charged with four runs and three hits over 4.1 innings. After giving up a run in the first inning, he retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced. Of the 13 outs he recorded, nine were groundouts.
After being stymied at the plate in Game 1, the RedHawks offense came alive to stake themselves to a comfortable lead before holding on for an 8-7 win the nightcap.
The RedHawks got on the board during their first chance, courtesy of a Brandon Laird sac fly in the first inning.
Jermaine Curtis gave the Redbirds the lead in the bottom of the second with a two-run single.
The RedHawks posted their first big inning of season in the third. After RBIs by Robbie Grossman and Trevor Crowe put the RedHawks in front, Brandon Laird hit the team's first home run with a two-run shot into the Memphis bullpen in left-center field to make it 5-2.
The rally kept going during the fourth when three more runs scored. Grossman, Crowe, and Laird each drove in runs to extend the lead to 8-2.
Down 8-3 in the seventh, Memphis scored four times and put the tying run in scoring position with two outs. Jose Valdez got Curtis to fly out to left field to end the game, as Valdez earned his first save of the seaon.
Paul Clemens (1-0) had a solid season debut, going five innings while allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out three and did not allow a walk.
Memphis lefty Nick Greenwood (0-1) took the loss in the spot start, allowing five runs and four hits over 2.2 innings.
The RedHawks and Redbirds square off Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. in Memphis. Live coverage begins at 5:35 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the IHeartRadio mobile app.
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