Toro's Deliver 5-4 Walkoff Victory On Opening Night
The Tucson Toros defeated the Edmonton Capitals in dramatic fashion on opening night with a 5-4 walkoff walk in the bottom of the 9th inning by Second Baseman Jose Valdez. Tucson scored four times in the final two frames to complete the comeback victory.
The game got off to a rocky start with Edmonton leadoff hitter sending the fifth pitch over the leftfield fence to put the Capitals up 1-0. Edmonton would add another in the first and a run in the second as well to quickly go up 3-0, before Toros starter Vince Davis settled in. The teams exchanged a run in the middle innings but that's where the score would rest until the eighth.
With the Toros down 4-1, a costly error by Capitals Shortstop Matt Rogelstad eventually led to a bases loaded 2-out situation with Toros slugger Wally Backman Jr. at the plate. Backman Jr. delivered by crushing a 2-1 pitch in the rightfield gap to score three runs and knot the score up at 4-4, bring chants of "Wally, Wally, Wally" from an excited Hi Corbett crowd.
Another miscue in the bottom of the ninth put Tucson Shortstop on bases as the potential winning run. Brian Bistagne, who entered the game an inning prior, followed by lacing a linedrive single to center that was kicked by Jorge Cortes, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Josh Womack was intentionally walked, leading to Valdez' decisive at bat that eventually resulted in a full count walk to seal the victory.
Lino Garcia had a monster offensive Opening Night for Tucson for the second year in a row, going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He had three doubles on Opening Night in 2009. Backman Jr. went 3-for-4, with a pair of singles in addition to his impactful triple.
The Toros pen was stellar on Wednesday, not allowing a hit or walk in their four innings of work. Righthander Andrew Snowden threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four in his professional debut. Toby Nordman did his job, shutting down a lefty with a runner in scoring position while Emiliano Fruto pitched a perfect ninth frame to earn the victory.
The Toros and Capitals will play game two of the four game series on Thirsty Thursday, with a 7:00 p.m. first pitch. The game can be heard live on COOL 1450 AM or video streaming over the internet at www.tucsontoros.com.
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