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Bisons drop two in Rochester

ROCHESTER – Following a stellar homestand this past week at Coca Cola Field, the Buffalo Bisons began their season longest road trip very inauspiciously, dropping both games of a doubleheader to the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field last night.

The entire doubleheader came about due to the cancellation of today’s regularly scheduled game in Rochester, which was moved to make way for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees vs Pawtucket Red Sox game. That game will feature future hall of famer Andy Pettitte on the mound pitching for the Yanks. The Yankees, of course, are playing many of their home games in Rochester this year while their ballpark in Moosic, Pennsylvania undergoes a massive renovation.

The Bisons fell 2-1, then 5-0 in the nightcap. The team combined for only eight hits throughout the two contests, and they were unable to provide any sort of offensive momentum in either game. Their only lead of the entire evening, albeit a short lived one, came early courtesy of an RBI single courtesy of Omar Quintinilla. That would be it for Bisons scoring. Meanwhile, Rochester starter P.J. Walters managed to retire the final 14 batters he faced to get the complete game victory.

In the second game, Rochester used four different pitchers and managed to secure a shutout, where the Bisons were limited to just four base hits. Buffalo did get to load the bases in the top of the 6th, aided by two hit by pitches, but were unable to cash any runs.

“We didn’t hit when we should have gotten some hits, and the lack of timely hitting cost us big,” said Manager Wally Backman after the game. “We had the bases loaded a couple of times, once in the first game, once in the second game, and just didn’t come up with the big hit. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t happen tonight. Baseball is a humbling game, we’ve been playing so well on the road as well as at home, so this is kind of a slap in the face. It’s not as easy as it looks. You really have to go out there and work at it every day.”

Overall, Backman was pretty satisfied with the pitching performance. “I thought (Garrett) Olson did a nice job on short rest. He really needed more run support tonight and he just didn’t get it.” (Olson line 3 2/3 inning pitched, 4 runs allowed, 3 earned and 5 strikeouts)

Officially this is the start of the Bisons’ longest road trip of the season, but the team headed back to Buffalo and will enjoy the Sunday off, before boarding a 6AM flight to Atlanta, Georgia and the opening of a series against the G-Braves down in Gwinnett. “This day off will be a good thing for us. It allows us to put this bad night behind us and get a fresh start on the real road trip which begins on Monday,” said Backman. The other bit of bad news came from down the road in Batavia, where the PawSox won their game against Scranton to regain top spot in the IL North Division. “Not a problem, we’ll be back,” Backman defiantly proclaimed. “We’ll see all our fans back at the ballpark next week.”

Other news of note:

-Centerfielder Jordany Valdespin has been optioned by the parent New York Mets back to Buffalo, and will join the Bisons on the road.

-The Red Wings front office is prepping for what could be the biggest day in their stadium’s history, as Andy Pettitte pitches for the SWB Yanks. Game time is 2:05PM, and all that is available are standing room tickets and limited berm seats. General Manager Dan Mason was at the mic on the field between games, advising fans to pick up tickets early at will call and allow enough time to get to the game. Gates will open at 12:30PM. For the record, the largest crowd ever at Frontier Field was 13,783 patrons for an Orioles exhibition game. An attendance record just might be made today.

-This Thursday, a fund raiser is being held at Ditondos on Seneca Street to benefit the Jim Griffin Memorial, a statue of Hizzoner which is being planned to be placed on the plaza in front of Coca Cola Field. Tickets are $25 which includes food and open bar, and the event runs from 6 to 8 PM. A worthwhile cause which will honor the man who made our downtown ballpark a reality. Be there!

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