NEW BRITAIN — While Mother Nature may not have been ready for Opening Night in Connecticut, the York Revolution bats were in midseason form and starter Frank Gailey didn’t miss a beat from a season ago, as York (1-0) surged in the middle innings and held on to defeat New Britain, 7-4 on Friday night at New Britain Stadium.
On a barely 50-degree evening with a steady dose of mist throughout, Gailey earned his first victory of the season, working five strong innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out four and not walking a batter.
The Revs opened the scoring in the fourth when Isaias Tejeda split the gap in left-center field to score Alonzo Harris from third and Joel Guzman from first. Tejeda picked up where he left off last season when he batted a team-best .356 for the Revs.
The Revs doubled their lead an inning later when Travis Witherspoon hit a moonshot off the scoreboard in left field, also plating Angel Franco who had led off the inning with a single to center. Witherspoon’s home run was the first of the season for the Revs, who ranked second in the Atlantic League in home runs a year ago, blasting 133.
The Bees answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a solo shot off the bat of Conor Bierfeldt, who stayed inside on a fastball and sent it over the left field fence, cutting the lead to 4-1 after five innings of play.
The Revs weren’t done, however, as in the top of the sixth, Tejeda and Michael Burgess set the stage with walks, and Jared Mitchell laced a double down the first base line to score Tejeda, extending the lead to 5-1. Then after a Bryan Pounds walk to load the bases and a pitching change for New Britain, right hander Nate Roe surrendered a double to Franco to left-center, plating Burgess and Mitchell to balloon the lead to 7-1. It was Franco’s third hit of the game on a 3-for-4 night at the dish.
The Bees threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with an error and two walks, but Witherspoon chased down a deep fly ball to left-center field off the bat of Steve Carrillo to end the threat and finish a scoreless frame for reliever Brad Allen. Luke Westphal fired a scoreless sixth inning as York’s first reliever on the night.
New Britain did push a run across in the eighth on an RBI groundout by Jon Griffin, plating Michael Baca who pinch ran for Jovan Rosa after Rosa was hit by a pitch from Jarret Martin to begin the frame.
Curtis Partch came on for the ninth and surrendered a home run to Bierfeldt on his first pitch, Bierfeldt’s second dinger of the game. After three more hits, Partch settled down, striking out pinch-hitter Paul Kronenfeld and giving up only a sacrifice fly to Craig Maddox before striking out Griffin to seal the victory.
►W-Frank Gailey (1-0), L-Casey Coleman (0-1)
►Eight of 9 Revs reached base in the win, and seven different Revs scored a run
►York pitching combined to strike out 11 while walking just three
►Frank Gailey becomes the first starting pitcher to win for the Revs on Opening Night since Corey Thurman in 2011 vs Camden; the previous three Opening Night wins had all come from relievers
►Gailey moves into fourth place in Revs history for starts (36), third in strikeouts (189), and tied for tenth in wins (12) with the season-opening victory.
►Seven runs are the most scored by York in an opener since they scored 8 vs Camden in 2011
►The Revs improve to 7-4 all-time in season openers
►Franco’s three hits are the most by a Revs player making his team debut since Nick Ferdinand went 3-for-4 with a walk-off homer on June 5, 2015 vs. Sugar Land
►York righty Steve Janas faces New Britain right-hander Jonathan Pettibone in the second game of the season on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. Revs fans can catch the action live on SportsRadio 1350, woyk1350.com, and the WOYK mobile app beginning at 6:15 p.m. with Darrell Henry on the call.