ALLENTOWN – The IronPigs are off to their best start in franchise history, but Rochester and the bottom of the batting order foiled Lehigh Valley's home opener 5-3.
The IronPig pitchers were masterful in sitting down the bulk of the Red Wing lineup. Rochester clean up hitter Wilson Ramos struck out four times in making five outs on the night.
The bottom of the Rochester line-up, Jacque Jones, Danny Valencia, and Dustin Martin, racked up five hits and drove in all five runs for Rochester.
Valencia and Martin singled off 'Pig starter Ryan Vogelsong to drive in runs in the second inning that gave Rochester a 2-1 lead.
The damaging blows came in the sixth. Erik Lis doubled off Vogelsong to start the inning to bring Huppert to the mound.
Jacques Jones, took reliever Mike Zagurski into the gap for a double to drive in Lis. One batter later, Dustin Martin drilled a 3-0 pitch over the left field wall for pushing the Rochester lead to 5-1.
"He got ambushed," IronPig manager Dave Huppert said, "He laid something in there and he was swinging 3-0."
In the bottom of the sixth, the IronPigs got a run on Andy Tracy's RBI single. Later, with the bases loaded, Paul Hoover drove a ball deep to the warning track but Jones was there to track it down and end the threat.
Lehigh Valley starter and Kutztown University graduate Vogelsong was effective but inconsistent. In taking the loss, Vogelsong struck out six but walked four.
"He's got to relax out there and let the ball do what it's going to do and not try to force things," Huppert said. "His stuff is good enough."
Vogelsong did get some help with some outstanding fielding behind him. Hoover gunned down a base runner that could have led to a run.
"I just think they were trying to be aggressive and we had the right plays on at the right time," Huppert said.
The IronPigs (2-5) are off to their best start in franchise history. After being swept in the first series the past two seasons, Lehigh Valley was on the verge to losing all four games at Columbus.
They lost the first three games on the final at-bat but rallied in the ninth inning of game four for their first win of the season. A 12-0 win Tuesday gave the IronPigs a split with the Pawtucket Pawsox.
"They've got to get their feet on the ground, figure out roles in the bullpen," Huppert said of the early season losses. "The guys are just trying to get used to each other."
Notes: John Mayberry was dropped to the seventh spot. "He was off to a slow start and I was just trying to give him a little bit of breathing time at the bottom," Huppert said. "It's a whole different mentality hitting at the top of the order. Mayberry has responded in hitting well since being dropped. He went 1-for-4 last night and has his average sitting at .310.