P Woods Fines, a member of the 2007 South Atlantic League champions Columbus Catfish made his 2008 debut tonight, but had a rough night of it as the Catfish fell, 7-5, to the Hickory Crawdads (Pirates).
Fines went 4 innings, allowing 7 runs on 10 hits, including a pair of 2-run homers, taking the loss. The bullpen, however, was outstanding. After Fines got the final 3 batters in the 4th inning out, reliever Kevin Boggan pitched 3 perfect innings of relief, and Travis Barnett pitched a perfect 9th.
The Catfish got on the board first, scoring a pair in the 2nd. LF Reid Fronk doubled home 3B Greg Sexton, and 2B Omar Luna singled home Fronk 4 batters later.
The brief lead didn't last, with Hickory scoring 3 in the bottom of the 2nd, and another 3 in the 3rd, to take a 6-2 lead.
The Catfish narrowed it to 6-3 when Luna singled in Fronk in the 4th inning, but another Hickory run in the bottom of the 4th made it 7-3.
Fronk hit a 2-run homer in the 5th, scoring RF Maiko Loyola, and closing the gap to 7-5.
Boggan and Barnett kept Hickory off the base paths the rest of the way. The Catfish, though, couldn't get any closer. In the 8th, they had 2 runners in scoring position with 1 out, but could not convert.
Fronk had the big bat for the Catfish tonight, going 3-for-3, a triple shy of the cycle. He scored 3 times and drove in 3. Loyola and Luna each had a pair of hits. On the night, the Catfish left 7 runners on base, 4 in scoring position.
Game 2 of the 4-game series is Wednesday night.