Gonzalez, with RailRiders on minor-league contract, gets rocked
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.”
Bisons pitcher Jacob Waguespack picked up the win on Opening Day at Sahlen Field.