|Ben Brown, image- Jay Floyd|
Starting pitcher Ben Brown, who underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2019, tossed four scoreless frames, striking out six and walking one.
After the Renegades took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by third baseman James Nelson off of reliever Tyler McKay in the top of the 5th inning, the BlueClaws did not wait long to clap back.
A looping opposite field single by right fielder Jhailyn Ortiz plated two runs to give the BlueClaws the lead. Catcher Logan O'Hoppe launched a homer in convincing fashion, plating Ortiz, to pad the home club's lead.
Jersey Shore's third and fourth batters in the lineup lead the offense again in the 7th inning when Ortiz plated another run on a single and O'Hoppe laced a double to score Ortiz, giving the 'Claws a 6-1 lead.
Braden Zarbnisky earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief. Dom Pipkin closed out the victory, allowing a run in two innings pitched.
The win puts the BlueClaws' record at 9-11 all-time on opening day.
This was the club's High A debut after spending their first 19 seasons as the Phillies' Class A affiliate. The change was a result of widespread reallignment of affiliated minor league teams during the most record off-season.
The BlueClaws also underwent a rebranding this past winter. In an effort to better represent their home territory, the team did away with claiming Lakewood as home and instead now holds down the entire Jersey Shore region.
BlueClaws manager Chris Adamson was hired more than a year ago, but as a result of last year's cancelled minor league season, due to the pandemic, he was making his debut in the Phils organization.
Adamson spoke of Ben Brown's spring season and overall progress prior to the opener:
"He's been electric. Velocity's been up. One of the biggest things, to be honest, is he's really just trusting his body. Everytime he gets on the mound, he's trusting it. He's the strongest he's ever been and he really used last year to make a lot of strides to move forward. He got strong physically and learned a lot about himself from a mental standpoint. He just goes out and competes his butt off every single day."
O'Hoppe 💣 💣 💣 It's been a GIANT day for @BlueClaws in #MiLBOpeningDay 🙌 🙌@logan_ohoppe went 2-4 with a home run and 3RBI. @tankalicious30 picks up his first win as a Minor League manager 🇦🇺 🇦🇺— Adelaide Giants Baseball Club (@AdelaideGiants) May 5, 2021
Great day to be a Giant #StandTall pic.twitter.com/fFrHoi2tfm