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09/10/2006 2:58 AM ET
Whitecaps surge past Lugnuts
Roa, Hollimon homer in opener of second-round series
Joel Roa went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored in his postseason debut. (Paul Gierhart/MLB.com)

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Joel Roa and Michael Hollimon homered to power the West Michigan Whitecaps to a 9-3 triumph over the Lansing Lugnuts on Saturday in the opener of their Midwest League second-round playoff series.

The Whitecaps jumped out to an early lead behind Roa, who blasted a two-run homer in a three-run second inning. He went 2-for-3 and scored twice.

"Roa's homer got us started, he got us going," Hollimon said. "He is the heart and soul of this team and he came up huge for us tonight. He gave us the early momentum and we never gave it back."

West Michigan extended its lead in the sixth on Hollimon's third homer of the playoffs and William Rhymes' sacrifice fly.

"I actually have just been trying to slow everything down (in the playoffs)," Hollimon said. "The atmosphere and pressure can be so high that I have been working on being patient and it has paid off for me.

"I was really jumpy in my first two at-bats (a popout and groundout) and just tried to relax and be patient in my third at-bat," the 24-year-old shortstop added. "I was in a hitter's count (1-0) and was just looking for something to drive."

Hollimon went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Cameron Maybin had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Michael Hernandez added a two-run single in the seventh for the Whitecaps, who collected 12 hits against four pitchers.

Erik Averill (1-0) yielded an unearned run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

"He was awesome," Hollimon said. "I can't say enough about Erik, it felt like he was doing everything he wanted to do and was making the hitters hit his pitches.

"His biggest moment was when he threw up a zero after we scored three runs in the second. ... It kept the momentum we had built on our side."

Lansing starter Casey McKenzie (0-1) surrendered five runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and a walk while fanning two over 5 2/3 innings.

Brian Bormaster went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Jesus Gonzalez had two hits and scored a run for the Lugnuts.

West Michigan hosts Game 2 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

Chip Haunss is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.