Setting The Stage // Game Eight
The Isotopes concluded their opening road trip of the season with a winning record (4-3) and return to Isotopes Park hoping to build off that momentum. Albuquerque will send RHP Zach Lee (1-0, 3.60 ERA) and the Tacoma Rainiers (2-4) will counter with LHP Anthony Fernandez. Coverage begins at 6:30 pm MT with announcer Josh Suchon joining "The Sports Drive" on 610 The Sports Animal. The pre-game starts at 6:45 and first pitch at 7:05. The game will also be broadcast on 1400 ESPN Santa Fe. Audio and video will also be streamed online via ABQIsotopes.com. and MiLB.com
The Lab Report
The Isotopes claim a 9-2 record all-time in Home Openers and have won five straight dating back to the 2009 season. The highest opening night attendance came April 11, 2003, when 12,215 fans filed into The Lab. Through 11 seasons, the 'Topes have averaged 9,783 fans on Opening Night, topping the 10,000 mark six times. The 2006 Home Opener (11,653) and 2005 opener (10,201) rank second and third, respectively.
The Wheels On the Buss Go 'Round And 'Round
Outfielder Nick Buss posted a 3-for-4 performance against Reno Thursday night, driving in two runs and scoring another. The 27-year-old has reached base in all but one of Albuquerque's games this season and has recorded a hit in four of the last five games. After leading the PCL a season ago with 100 RBI, Buss has driven in a team second-best four runs and drawn the second-most walks (5) for the 'Topes this season.
Tonight's Promotional Item
The first 3,000 fans to tonight's game will receive a knit hat courtesy of Sandia Resort and Casino. Tomorrow's giveaway is a Manager Damon Berryhill t-shirt courtesy of Coca-Cola to the first 3,000 fans 18 and older.
Super Smash Bros.
Albuquerque is one of only two teams in the Pacific Coast League with a pair of players ranked in the league's top-10 batting averages. Miguel Olivo's .474 average ranks third, while Joc Pederson's .417 clip is tied for eighth. Olivo also has two home runs in his last two games, while Pederson leads the Isotopes with three long balls on the season.
Score Early, Score Often
In three of the Isotopes four wins this season they plated the first runs of the game, and in all four losses, the opponent scored first. At least one run has been scored in the first inning of each game this season and the 'Topes have scored a run in each inning except the eighth.
The Pacific Coast League shook up its divisions prior to the 2014 season. Albuquerque moved into the Pacific Conference, Southern Division where they are joined by El Paso, Las Vegas and Salt Lake. The Northern Division members are Fresno, Reno, Sacramento and Tacoma. On the American Conference side, the Northern Division now features Colorado Springs, Iowa, Oklahoma City and Omaha, while the Southern Division is now comprised of Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and Round Rock.
New Faces Meet Old Faces
Taking the reigns of the Isotopes this season is Damon Berryhill, a five-year veteran of the Dodgers' organization Berryhill spent three of his 10 Major League seasons in Atlanta catching the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery in their prime. Familiar faces on the bench include pitching coach Glenn Dishman and hitting coach Franklin Stubbs, who are back in Albuquerque for their fourth and second seasons, respectively.