SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Fresno Grizzlies (1-4) fell short to the Salt Lake Bees (3-2) on Monday night, 5-4, in the series opener in front of 2,816 fans at Smith's Ballpark. A five-hour flight delay for the Grizzlies out of Las Vegas had them arrive to the park only 85 minutes prior to first pitch, but the offense still came ready in the early going as the team built a 3-0 lead by the top of the third. But the Bees would score five unanswered runs to climb out of the hole and win their first game in three tries.
Missed opportunities were the story for the Grizzlies' offense late. Down 5-4, Joe Panik (2-4, RBI) led off the ninth inning with a triple, but a strikeout and two routine ground ball outs to shortstop left him 90-feet away from tying the game. Another chance came an inning earlier when Gary Brown grounded into a double play with one out and runners on the corners after Darren Ford drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to the warning track.
Grizzlies' starter Chris Heston (L; 5ER/4.0 IP) was able to limit the Salt Lake hitters to only a run through the first three innings, but he would relinquish the lead during a four-run fourth. After allowing the first two batters to reach base, Heston served up a towering three-run homer to lefty Brennan Boesch that gave the Bees the lead for good.
Fresno began the scoring with Andrew Susac's first career Triple-A homer. An inning later, Tony Abreu added a solo homer (1) and Joe Panik lined a one-out RBI single to left.
Reliever Jake Dunning (3.0 IP) and Erik Cordier (1.0) recorded scoreless outings for the Grizzlies.
Bees' starter Justin Thomas earned the win, tossing five innings (three runs) and striking out seven.
Tomorrow's game begins at 5:35 p.m. PST as Fresno LHP Mike Kickham (0-1, 0.00) squares off against Jarrett Grube (1-0, 3.00). Listen to the radio call locally on KYNO 1430 AM or stream the feed on kynofresno.com.