Monday, April 14, 2008

April 14th, 2008: Zhengzhou at Luoyang

I haven't previewed either of these teams yet -- my apologies. This was the only game of the day. Enjoy, and there is more to come, especially as school winds down this week.

April 14th, 2008

Zhengzhou Dragons at Luoyang White Horse

LUOYANG – In front of a rabid full crowd indoors at White Horse Stadium, Luoyang began the 2008 season with a bang, on a 9th inning walk-off home run by pinch hitter Nish Williams. Despite falling behind 3-0 early on, and facing a 4-2 deficit at one point, Luoyang held on, getting the final blow against Zhengzhou reliever Bruce Sutter.

As with most opening day affairs, this game promised to be a pitcher’s duel, as Zhengzhou’s Mike Mussina squared off against Luoyang’s ace Tom Seaver. The final 5-4 score, however, told a slightly different tale.

Zhengzhou threatened to take control of the game early with its speed. Joe Kelley led off with a bunt that caught second baseman Jeff Kent by surprise. Kelley then promptly proceeded to steal second. He was stranded there, however, as Tom Seaver’s pitching shut down Zhengzhou for the time being.

Dragons starter Mike Mussina began the game strong, striking out the side with ease. Mussina wound up with eight strikeouts in eight strong innings, winding up with a no decision.

The first runs of the season came from the bat of Zhengzhou’s Darrell Porter, who hit a big two run blast in the top of the second. Mussina then proceeded to drive in Nellie Fox for the Dragon’s third run, which looked like it would be the margin of victory until the later innings.

Luoyang gave the home fans something to cheer for in the 7th inning, when Happy Felsch’s homer tied the game at 4. Mike Tiernan, pinch hitting for Seaver, drew a walk and stole second, after which Wild Bill Wright hit a long fly to left-center field. White Horse leftfielder Darryl Strawberry went back to the arches, right in front of the bullpen, to make a spectacular catch. Tiernan was eventually stranded at third, and that was it for all rallies until William’s big blow.

For boxscore, click here.

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