French Leads 'Cats to 3-2 Victory in Opener

April 5, 2012 5:34 PM

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The starting lineup for the Rock Cats on Opening Night.

frenchNEW BRITAIN, CT - New Britain's Luke French turned in an impressive start and the bullpen held off a late Richmond rally as the Rock Cats escaped with a 3-2 victory on Opening Night at New Britain Stadium.

The Flying Squirrels were blanked for eight innings until finally striking in the top of the ninth. Gary Brown and Ehire Adrianza opened the inning with consecutive singles off reliever Daniel Turpen -who had struck out two in a scoreless eighth. Turpen retired the next two batters before unleashing a wild pitch. Chris Dominguez then drilled a grounder past second baseman James Beresford that scored both runners. The Rock Cats sent in Lester Oliveros, who struck out the first batter he faced to notch his first save.

The Rock Cats jumped out to an early lead when Darin Mastroianni led off the bottom of the first with a base hit in his first at-bat as a Rock Cat. Evan Bigley delivered a one-out double to the center field wall that scored Mastroianni from second for the first run of the season.

The Rock Cats struck again in the third. Beresford lined a base hit into center to open the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch by Richmond starter Justin Fitzgerald. Mastroianni then drew a walk on another wild pitch that allowed Beresford to move to third with no outs. Chris Herrmann lined a single into right to plate Beresford for another Rock Cats' run. Mastroianni scored when Bigley grounded into a double play.

French (1-0), who has clocked time in the Major Leagues, impressed in his Rock Cats debut, hurling five shutout innings. He limited the Flying Squirrels to two hits while striking out four. Deolis Guerra struck out three in two shutout innings in relief for the Rock Cats.

Fitzgerald (0-1) allowed three runs on five hits in four innings. He struck out five.

ALLSTATE PLAYER OF THE GAME: LHP Luke French hurled five shutout innings with two hits allowed, two walks and four strikeouts.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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