The Birmingham Barons opened Regions Field in style, erasing a 5-2 deficit in the early goings to win 9-5 in front of a capacity crowd of 8,505 fans in downtown Birmingham.
The Barons pounced on Mississippi starter Aaron Northcraft (0-1, 5.40) early and often, plating two runs in the first as Trayce Thompson plated Keenyn Walker with a triple and scored on an RBI groundout by Andy Wilkins.
Barons starter Nestor Molina struggled through 4.0 innings allowing five runs on eight hits over 4.0 IP including a two-run triple to Philip Gosselin in the second and a solo home run for Kyle Russell in the third. Russell's homer was the first by any player at Regions Field. A complete list of Regions Field firsts can be found below.
The Barons bullpen, consisting of Nick McCully, Salvador Sanchez and Taylor Thompson combined to hold the M-Braves scoreless over the final 5.0 innings allowing just two hits over that span. The bullpen's herculean effort allowed the Barons to claw back with a pair of runs in the fourth on a Dan Black two-run double and took the lead for good with a three-run fifth, highlighted by a tie-breaking two-run home run by INF Marcus Semien.
The bullpen took care of the rest as the Barons celebrated Opening Night at Regions Field with a 9-5 win and watched as post-game fireworks set the downtown skyline aglow.
The win went to McCully (1-1, 2.08) who allowed just one hit over 2.0 IP. With the win, the Barons evened their record at 3-3 while the Braves fell to 3-3 on the year.
The Barons and Braves will square off again Thursday night as LHP Spencer Arroyo (0-0, 1.80) takes the hill looking for his first win of the year. He'll be opposed by Mississippi RHP J.R. Graham (0-0, 0.00). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Regions Field Firsts:
First pitch/batter: Thrown by Birmingham's Nestor Molina at 7:02 PM to Mississippi Second Baseman Phill Gosselin.
First Out: The first out was recorded by Keenyn Walker on a fly ball off the bat of Gosselin.
First Hit: Mississippi's Christian Marrero doubled on line drive to right field in the top of the first inning.
First Barons Hit: Outfielder Trayce Thompson tripled on a line drive to center field bottom of the first inning off of Aaron Northcraft.
First Run/RBI: Scored by Keenyn Walker from third base on a first inning triple by Trayce Thompson.
First Double: Christian Marrero doubled on line drive to right field in the top of the first inning against Nestor Molina.
First Barons Double: Outfielder Trayce Thompson doubles on line drive to left field in the fourth inning.
First Triple: Outfielder Trayce Thompson tripled on a line drive to center field bottom of the first inning.
First Home Run: Kyle Russell hits a solo home run to left field in the top of the third inning against Nestor Molina.
First Stolen Base: Keenyn Walker steals second base in the bottom of the first inning.
First Walk: Keenyn Walker leads off the bottom of the first inning with a walk against Aaron Northcraft.
First Strikeout: Kyle Russell Strikes out swinging against Nestor Molina in the top of the first, catcher Michael Blanke to first baseman Andy Wilkins.