The afternoon couldn’t have started much better for Lakewood. Jiwan James and Leandro Castro started the game with base hits off Asheville starter Juan Gonzalez, and Jeremy Barnes belted a three-run home run to give the BlueClaws an early 3-0 cushion. However the lead wouldn’t wouldn’t last.
BlueClaws starter Brody Colvin (0-1) retired the first five Tourist batters he’d face, but struggled the rest of the way. Colvin gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits through four innings in just his second career professional appearance.
Trailing 6-3 though four innings, the BlueClaws would score one run in the fifth and two in the sixth, only to have each comeback attempt answered by Asheville with a run of their own.
The BlueClaws best chance to tie came in the eighth. Down 8-7, catcher Kyle Lafrenz would lead off the inning with a double. But with one out and pinch- runner Jonathan Villar standing on third, the BlueClaws couldn’t even the score. Jiwan James flied out to left and Tyler Massey gunned down Villar at home to preserve the lead.
It was a disappointing outcome for a BlueClaws team that was flying high after scoring 19 runs in the first two games of the season. In games three and four they managed eight, but dropped both games to fall to .500.
Sheng-An Kuo only retired two batters and gave up two runs (one earned), but still was rewarded with a win for Asheville.
With their season series with the Tourists now over, the BlueClaws will head to Hagerstown to face the Suns (1-3). RHP Jonathan Pettibone will get his first start of the season for Lakewood against RHP Paul Demny. First pitch is at 6:35 pm EST.
ClawsNotes: Individual tickets for the September 2nd game when the BlueClaws will retire Ryan Howard’s number 29 will go on sale Saturday.
The BlueClaws will open at FirstEnergy Park on Friday, April 16th when they raise the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship Banner. April 17th and 18th comprise Dollar Weekend (courtesy of the Asbury Park Press). Tickets are on sale now at 732-901-7000 or online at BlueClaws.com.
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