Gon­za­lez, with RailRiders on mi­nor-league con­tract, gets rocked

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

struck out one.

Big­gio, the son of Hall of Famer Craig Big­gio, led the way of­fen­sively for the Bisons, bat­ting 3-for-4 with the homer and two RBIs. His first base hit contributed to Buf­falo’s three­run out­burst in the first in­ning, and his two-run homer to right gave the Bisons a 5-0 lead in the third.

“Gio’s got 10-plus years in the big leagues. He’s a very good pitcher,” Big­gio said. “I think he made a cou­ple of mis­takes this af­ter­noon and we were able to make him pay for it. I kind of grew up watch­ing him play, watch­ing him pitch, so (I was) just lucky enough to get a few bar­rels on him.

“First at-bat, I swung first­pitch fast­ball and was able to hit it pretty hard. Sec­ond at­bat, I was still look­ing for an­other fast­ball. He started me off with two break­ing balls and I think he thought I was going to look for an­other break­ing ball and he tried to sneak a fast­ball in­side, but I stuck to my ap­proach and put a good swing on it.

“I think it was just a per­fect first game of the sea­son to get things going.”

Eric Sog­ard’s double to left cen­ter field scored Bo Bichette from first base for the Bisons’ first run of the sea­son, and An­thony Al­ford’s sin­gle to left gave Buf­falo a 2-0 lead. Big­gio’s sin­gle to right put run­ners on the cor­ners with no­body out, and Andy Burns’ ground­out to third scored Al­ford for a 3-0 ad­van­tage.

Big­gio’s homer in­creased the lead to 5-0 in the third in­ning, and the Bisons scored three more runs in the fourth. Roe­mon Fields’ sin­gle to left ex­tended the lead to 6-0. Bichette grounded to short, al­low­ing An­drew Guil­lotte to score from third for a 7-0 lead. Sog­ard’s sac­ri­fice fly pushed the lead to 8-0.

The RailRiders be­gan to cut into the deficit with three base hits in the fifth in­ning, with Mike Ford scor­ing Matt Lipka from sec­ond to get Scran­ton/ Wilkes-Barre on the score­board. Ford was picked off by Bisons catcher Reese McGuire to end the in­ning.

Lipka’s two-run homer to left off Bisons re­lief pitcher Corey Cop­ping al­lowed the RailRiders to chop their deficit to 8-3 in the sev­enth in­ning, but they man­aged just one more baserun­ner the rest of the way.

Celery posed for photos and danced atop the home dugout dur­ing the sev­enth-in­ning stretch, as fans cheered the scene, the pend­ing vic­tory and the birth of a new baseball sea­son.

“I’m ex­cited for this sea­son,” Burns, who re­joined the Bisons af­ter play­ing the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons in Korea, said a day ear­lier. “We’ve got a re­ally good group of guys, and I think we’re going to win a lot of ball­games. Being around Buf­falo and know­ing that they need a win­ner, I’m hop­ing that we’re going to be the team that kind of busts through and makes that hap­pen.”

James P. McCoy/Buf­falo News

Bisons pitcher Jacob Wagues­pack picked up the win on Open­ing Day at Sahlen Field.

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