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Strieby starts season where he left off

Homers twice, drives in four runs as Erie rallies for 8-7 win
April 8, 2009
Ryan Strieby didn't take long to establish himself as a power hitter at the next level.

Making his Double-A debut, the Tigers first-base prospect homered twice -- including a go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh inning -- as the Erie SeaWolves pulled out a season-opening 8-7 victory over the visiting Altoona Curve on Wednesday.

Strieby, who paced the Florida State League with 29 homers and 94 RBIs at Class A Advanced Lakeland in 2008, grounded out in the opening frame before leading off the fourth with a blast over the center-field wall.

"I really don't focus too much on what level I'm even at," said Strieby. "I'm just focused on what I need to do. Just get the pitches I can drive and maintain a good approach at the plate, day in and day out."

Detroit's fourth-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft struck out in the fifth before erasing a 7-5 deficit in his next at-bat.

Scott Sizemore, who tripled twice and drove in three runs, reached on a throwing error by second baseman Jim Negrych to start the seventh. Cale Iorg struck out and Brennan Boesch grounded out before Casper Wells reached on a throwing error by shortstop Brian Friday.

Strieby, who last homered twice on July 5, 2008 against Fort Myers, launched another long drive over the wall in center off reliever Lincoln Holdzkom (0-1) to put the SeaWolves in front for good.

"It was a 2-0 fastball and I was just trying to get ahead in the count," said Strieby. "The guy had a pretty nasty slider, so I was fortunate to get a fastball and get good wood on it. I try to use the middle of the field. I want to be able to drive the ball to both fields."

Though he admitted that some soreness in his left hand during Spring Training had forced him to sit out a few days, Strieby didn't feel any pain at the plate in the opener.

"This gives me a lot of confidence," he added. "The main thing I was concerned about was my hand being healthy. It feels good to come out on Opening Day and have a good game. I'll try to build off that."

Iorg drove in the other run for Erie, which overcame four errors of its own.

Josh Rainwater (1-0) picked up the win in relief after yielding an unearned run on two hits with a strikeout in two innings. Brett Jensen nailed down the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

SeaWolves starter Jonah Nickerson was reached for four runs on eight hits with two strikeouts over four innings.

Negrych went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI and Friday fell a homer shy of the cycle and also scored three times for the Curve. Highly touted Pirates outfield prospect Jose Tabata finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Altoona starter Anthony Watson surrendered five runs on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts over 3 2/3 frames.

John Torenli is a contributor to