EDINBURGH, TX - Before Friday night's game, Prairie Dog's manager Bobby Brown said about Brian Smith, "This isn't the highest level he's ever going to play at." Based on the left-hander's first outing of the season, it seems as though Brown is on to something. The 21-year-old second-year pro commanded the strike zone over seven innings in Edinburgh, allowing only five hits and fanning five batters as the Prairie Dogs shutout the Roadrunners, 4-0.
The Prairie Dogs lineup wasted little time getting on the board in support of the young southpaw. After Jason Martin started the game with a single, and Reggie Williams popped out, Wilson Batista met his first base hit of the season, putting two runners on for Kyle Nichols. The big right-handed cleanup hitter did not squander the early opportunity, roping a run-scoring double into the leftfield corner to provide an early 1-0 lead. Nick Ochoa, who gathered six hits in his first seven at-bats of the season, followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to double the lead in the opening frame.
The first-inning support was more than enough for Brian Smith who zipped through seven innings without much trouble at all. Only one man reached third base against the native Texan, and he faced only 25 batters in seven innings of dominance. Smith seemed to get stronger as the game progressed - he registered all of his strikeouts in the fourth inning or later.
At the plate, the Prairie Dogs had trouble building on the first inning momentum. Nick Ochoa walked to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the third inning. However, the threat was stifled when he sliced a line drive right at right-fielder Tim Battle who made the catch and threw out Reggie Williams trying to score from third.
Abilene littered the bases on Friday night but very few of the runners touched home plate; the dogs left two runners on in the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings and stranded 12 men in total.
The visitors finally doubled the margin with two insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Scott Vander Weg made his second appearance of the series and was aided by a Wilmer Pino line drive to second base that turned into an inning-ending double play.
Vander Weg stranded two more runners in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Prairie Dogs shook hands on the field at Edinburgh Stadium for the second time in three nights.
The four-game season-opening series concludes on Saturday night in Edinburgh. You can hear all the action beginning with the First Financial pregame show at 6:55 on 106.9 KLGD.