The Birmingham Barons used the long ball and a five-run fourth inning, powering their way to a 5-2 win in the 2013 season opener against the Montgomery Biscuits Thursday night in front of 4,112 fans at Riverwalk Stadium.
The Barons exploded in the fourth inning as the first five batters reached base. Trayce Thompson led off the inning with his first home run of the season, giving the Barons a 1-0 lead. Walks to Andy Wilkins and Dan Black followed by a single from Michael Blanke loaded the bases for Tyler Saladino. Facing Montgomery starter Matt Buschmann (0-1, 12.27), Saladino delivered with a Grand Slam to left field, giving the Barons a 5-0 lead and all the offense they would need on this night.
Barons' starter Nestor Molina cruised through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. RBI single by Kevin Kiermaier and Shawn O'Malley cut the Barons lead to 5-2 and chased Molina from the ballgame after 4.2 IP.
Salvador Sanchez (1-0, 0.00) relieved Molina and retired the final batter of the inning to preserve the lead. He would strike out two in 1.1 IP while picking up the win on opening night.
Ryan Kussmaul (2.0 IP, 4 strikeouts) and Taylor Thompson (1.0 IP) combined to shut the Biscuits down over the final 3.0 innings as the Barons moved to 1-0 on the season. Thompson picked up the save, his first of the year, in his Double-A debut.
The Barons and Biscuits clash again Friday night as LHP Spencer Arroyo (NR) takes the hill against RHP Albert Suarez (NR). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.