The opening homestand to the 2008 season is officially history and all things considered things went pretty well. After dropping three-of-four in the season-opening series against Lake County, the BlueClaws rallied for two straight wins to head to Delmarva with a 3-4 record, just two games behind the Captains in the North Division standings.
The offense finally came alive against visiting Hagerstown, clubbing 32 hits in three games after notching just 29 in four games against Lake County. The result—two victories in two games over the Suns.
The Claws began the set with Hagerstown much as they had their series with Lake County—with a convincing loss. Lakewood out-hit the Suns, but still found themselves on the losing end of a 5-2 decision, mainly thanks to 11 runners left on base.
Drew Naylor took his second loss of the young season, despite giving up just one earned run. But the story on a cold Tuesday night was not the pitching, but the offense, or rather lack thereof. The BlueClaws could not score until the eighth, when the game was seemingly well out of reach. Even when Lakewood rallied, they could not find any momentum, stranding four over the final two innings.
Wednesday and Thursday saw a different story. The home side finally took advantage of their ample opportunities and the results told the tale: a 6-5 victory on Wednesday and a 7-5 win in the series finale.
Mike Durant and Joel Naughton powered the BlueClaws attack on Wednesday night, as Durant went 4-for-4 with a monstrous home run over the 21-foot fence in deep left-centerfield and Naughton drove in three, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.
Thursday featured a whole new set of offensive heroes. Dominic Brown drove in a pair, Matt Rizzotti reached base three times in four trips up and Karl Bolt had two RBIs while making his first start of the season in the outfield.
The two wins gave the BlueClaws their first winning streak of the season and gave the club some momentum as they head on the road for the first time. Lakewood will visit Delmarva for three this weekend before heading to Eastlake, Ohio for a quick two-game series with Lake County.
The BlueClaws will get another crack at the Captains at FirstEnergy Park next Wednesday when the team returns to the Jersey Shore for a five-game homestand.
One final note…Miguel Matos has been placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He will be replaced by Ben Pfinsgraff, who spent parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the BlueClaws, in Delmarva.