Mike Napoli and Erick Aybar paced a 17-hit attack that gave Joe Saunders more than enough room to work with en-route to a 9-3 victory of Tucson. Napoli had a double among four hits on the night, while Erick Aybar's two-RBI triple was one of three hits he posted on the night. Four other members of the Sting had multiple hits in their Pacific Coast League debuts, including Reggie Willits who also had a pair of RBI.
Joe Saunders got the opening day start and earned the win allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned) over six innings. Saunders struck out only two, but did not allow a walk. Jason Bulger, acquired for Alberto Callaspo in spring training, pitched a scoreless inning in relief against his former team.
Brandon Wood began his 2006 campaign with a double, homer and three RBI, seemingly not missing a beat from a 2005 season in which he slugged .667. Centerfielder Dwaine Bacon added three hits and scored a pair of runs to give the Travelers a 5-4 win on the road over Springfield.
Dan Davidson, who won 13 games for Arkansas last year, got the opening-night start, going 5.1 innings. Davidson struggled with control in the outing, allowing four walks and six hits on the way to surrendering three earned runs. Although he allowed a run in the ninth and the winning run came to the plate twice, Rich Thompson earned the save while throwing two innings.
The Kernels managed only four singles and struck out 12 times on their way to losing to Beloit on the road 4-0. Righty Tom Mendoza gave up all four runs before he recorded the second out in the third inning, including surrendering a leadoff homer to slugging first baseman Henry Sanchez.
Warner Madrigal was the Kernels' lone bright spot at the plate, going two-for-two and drawing a walk in the game. This is the third season the 22-year-old outfielder has returned to Cedar Rapids to start the year. The speedy Dominican will need plenty more nights like this one to prove that his .288 on-base percentage last year was an aberration.