The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, clobbered the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday night in a 11-2 opening-night victory. The Chiefs kickstarted their offense with a five-run third inning to back six shutout innings from right-hander Ross Ohlendorf. Every starting Syracuse position player collected at least one hit in the win.
Syracuse (1-0) got going in the opening frame with a leadoff single from Eury Perez. The 22-year-old outfielder extended his Triple-A hitting streak to 18 games, having collected a hit in the final 17 games of 2012. Four batters later, left fielder Micah Owings dribbled a ground ball off of third base, scoring Perez for a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, the Chiefs extended their lead against reigning International League Pitcher of the Year Tyler Cloyd, sending all nine batters to the plate. With one out, second baseman Jeff Kobernus singled against Cloyd - one of Kobernus' three hits and five times on base in his Triple-A debut. Right fielder Corey Brown then doubled in Kobernus with a slicing line drive to left field. After a Chris Marrero walked, Owings delivered the night's most crushing blow with a first-pitch blast into the left-field bullpen. The three-run home run gave Syracuse a 5-0 lead. Shortstop Zach Walters then followed with a blast of his own, crushing a solo home run over the right-center field wall for a 6-0 lead.
Syracuse piled on another run in the fourth inning, knocking out Cloyd after three-plus innings. With one out and two runners on, Marrero singled in Perez, upping the score to 7-0.
Meanwhile, Lehigh Valley (0-1) had no luck against Ohlendorf, who excelled in his Chiefs debut. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits and one walk in six shutout innings, striking out three. It's the second straight season Ohlendorf's begun his season with a six-inning, two-hit, no-run effort against the IronPigs; he accomplished the feat last season while pitching for Pawtucket.
The Chiefs would add three runs in the eighth inning on just one hit before Lehigh Valley scored its first run in the bottom of the frame on two singles and a double play groundout.
Syracuse tacked on its final tally with a Kobernus RBI single in the ninth, before Lehigh Valley scored a second run with a Darin Ruf RBI groundout.
The Chiefs will look to expand on their hot start on Friday night at 7:05 from Lehigh Valley. Syracuse starter Tanner Roark is slated to start against IronPigs right-hander Jonathan Pettibone.