The Sports Corner is back with the 2017 major league season beginning for the Tampa Bay Rays as they began it with a win over the Yankees.
The Bulls held a scrimmage over the weekend and have a few more practices this week and will hold the spring game on April 15th as the long off-season continues. From everything I continue to read, the offense is clicking, going with incredible tempo and the defense is getting better (only direction is up for that unit). These are all great signs moving forward.
On Friday night the Bulls lost 6 to 4 to Tulane in the AAC opener, dropping their record to 23-4 (0-1) to begin conference play. USF had the lead but the bullpen fell apart and allowed the Green Wave to take the game. Joe Genord was 1 for 4 with a double with an RBI and scored a run, Duke Stunkel was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and Chris Chatfield went 3 for 4 to lead the offense. Phoenix Sanders pitched well going 6.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 runs, walking 2 and struck out 6. Joe Cavallaro lost this game as the Bulls struggled late to take it.
On Saturday, the Bulls fell 3 to 4, dropping their record to 23-5 (0-2) as the rough start to AAC play continued (seriously, how many double plays did they hit into during this game?). Kevin Merrell was 2 for 4 and Coco Montes was 1 for 4 with a home run. Joe Genord was 2 for 3 with a 2-run home run. Shane McClanahan (4-1) went 6.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 4 runs, walking 3 and struck out 4 in his first “rough” start for the Bulls. Michael Farley pitched well in relief, striking out 3 in 1.2 innings of scoreless work.
On Saturday, the Bulls won 7 to 5, moving to 24-5. Coco Montes was 2 for 4 with a double and scored a run. Luke Borders was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored while Joe Genord was 1 for 3 with a 2-run home run (glad to see the offense get going in this game). Ryan Valdes, in relief of Peter Strzelecki who struggled, went 3.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 run and struck out one. Andrew Perez went 2 innings for a great save, striking out 3 batters.
The Bulls return home to host that team in Central Florida on Friday night, first pitch at 6:30 PM (scheduled).
The Bulls, after weather delays on both Friday and Saturday, got back into action on Sunday, stating with a 9 to 0 win in the first game of the double header, pushing their record to 21-18 (1-3). Kristen Wyckoff, her first start since March 5th, was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and stole a base. Astin Donovan had a huge game, going 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, a 3-run home run, and drove in 6 runs total and scored 3 more. Bethaney Keen went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Kalen McGill (8-5) went 6 innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk and struck out one in a solid game.
In the second game, the Bulls fell 1 to 0 in a pitchers duel, dropping their record to 21-19 (1-4) on the year as the inconsistent play continues for this team. They had just two hits, Kristen Wyckoff and Astin Donovan accounting for them both. Cheyenne Eggens (5-6) went 4 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 run, and struck out two batters. Hannah Parker and Susan Wysocki worked a combined 2 innings, striking out 2 batters.
The Bulls will host ECU on Friday night to begin a 3-game series, first pitch is scheduled for 4 PM (forecast looks like it could have some rain in it for Friday so keep that in mind).
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays opened their season on Sunday afternoon against the New York Yankees to begin the 2017 season, beating them 7 to 3 to start the year 1-0. Kevin Kiermaier was 2 for 3 with 2 walks, scored 2 runs and stole his first base of the year. Evan Longoria was 2 for 4 overall with a 2-run home run and drove in 3 runs total. Brad Miller went 2 for 5 with a run scored and Logan Morrison was 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs overall and hit his first home run of the year. Chris Archer (1-0) battled and went 7 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 runs, walking 1 and struck out 5 batters. Danny Farquhar looked solid in relief and Alex Colome got his first save of the year.
The two teams will play again on Tuesday, with Tampa sending Jake Odorizzi to the mound for his first start (game begins at 7:10 PM).
On Friday night the Magic fell 116 to 117 to Boston in a game where they held the lead once again (loss puts them at 27-49). Aaron Gordon, battling a sore shoulder, had 32 points and 16 rebounds while Evan Fournier had 20 points to lead the way. Jodie Meeks had 13 points off the bench but it just wasn’t enough as the defense again fell apart down the stretch for this club.
On Saturday night, the Magic lost 111 to 121 to Brooklyn dropping Orlando to 27-50 on the year, losing to the worst team in the Eastern conference. Seriously, the Magic cannot stop anyone late in any game and continue to put together leads only to fall apart down the stretch, it’s pathetic. Nikola Vucevic led the way with 27 points and 11 rebounds while Aaron Gordon, battling a sore back, had 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. Elfrid Payton had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in another triple-double performance.
The Magic will head to Cleveland on Tuesday night (game begins at 7 PM).