(Joliet, IL) Opening Night at Silver Cross Field featured lots of entertainment. But the biggest show was put on by starting pitcher Billy Petrick in a 7-0 Slammers’ victory over the Washington Wild Things.
Petrick worked around some early trouble in the first two innings. After giving up a single and a walk to start the first, he got Ernie Banks to hit into a 5-4-3 DP. Josh Banda grounded out to second and Petrick was out of the jam.
Hector Pellot became the first Slammer to reach base in the bottom half of the frame as he drew a one out walk. Josh Flores smoked the second pitch he saw to short, but a nice play from Emilio Ontiveros turned it into a 6-4-3 DP.
The former big leaguer Petrick showed his mettle again in the second inning. After striking out Blake Ochoa for the first K in Slammers history, and the second out of the inning, trouble came calling again. The next two batters singled and Petrick hit the number nine hitter Kevyn Feiner to load the bases. Not fazed, Petrick got Chris Sidick to ground out weakly to first and fans could breathe a sigh of relief as the game remained scoreless.
It would not stay scoreless for long. Devin Shepherd recorded the first hit in Slammers’ history with a ringing double to left-center. Nick Ochoa followed with the first RBI in Slammers’ history as he doubled home Shepherd. One out later, Kyle Maunus drew a walk. Lee Rubin hit a grounder back to the mound and the throw to second was dropped for an error. Ochoa scored on the play to make it 2-0 Slammers. Bobby Leeper reached on another error, this time by the Wild Things’ shortstop as Maunus scored to make it 3-0.
From then on it was the Billy Petrick show. He set down the final 19 batters he faced on the way to the win despite only striking out one batter. The key to Petrick’s performance was getting very weak contact thanks to his fastball which was moving quite nicely.
The Slammers got some insurance in the seventh. Lee Rubin started things off with a double. After Bobby Leeper walked, Pedro Lopez lay down a beautiful bunt down the third base line. The wild throw to first scored Rubin and put runners on second and third. Hector Pellot followed with a RBI grounder to give the Slammers a 5-0 lead.
In the eighth inning the Slammers got two more runs, one of which scored on a RBI triple from Bobby Leeper.
Petrick went eight innings, giving up three hits and walking only one. Wild Things starter Vidal Nuno picked up the loss as he went six innings, giving up five runs, two earned, on six hits.
Ryan Quigley pitched a scoreless ninth for the Slammers.
The teams are back in action Friday night as Jason Jarvis of the Slammers takes on the Wild Things’ Justin Hall. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. CST and you can tune in on AM 1340 WJOL and www.wjol.com. Lots of good tickets remain as well!