Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Rookie pitcher Casey Lawrence had to wait an additional hour and a half before making his debut in AAA baseball. Called up from Class-A Dunedin, he got the start for the Buffalo Bisons on Monday night, after waiting out a 90-minute rain delay.
When the cool rain stopped, the Syracuse Chiefs gave Lawrence an even chillier reception, hitting the young pitcher hard for four runs in the first inning on their way to a 8-1 victory over the Bisons at Coca-Cola Field.
The Chiefs built their lead to 5-0 in the second inning when Jimmy Van Ostrand, who reached base on a single, scored at home by beating the throw on a fielder’s choice.
Lawrence settled down by the third inning, striking out one while two other hitters hit fly balls right to the waiting glove of center fielder Anthony Gose. He was relieved after four innings, allowing six runs — five of them earned — on 10 hits. He also struck out three.
Bisons manager Marty Brown thought the youngster performed well in spite of the result. As Brown saw it, Lawrence didn’t get a lot of help from his fielders early on.
“You’ve got to handle the ball in this league and we didn’t handle one ball,” Brown said. “You can’t give the extra outs to any club in this league and especially with Casey out there who hasn’t had much AAA experience.
“He’s making good pitches and before you know it he’s got 30 pitches in the first inning. It was unfortunate because I thought he did make some decent pitches in the first inning.”
The Chiefs continued to pour on their offense after Buffalo sent Buddy Carlyle to the mound in the fifth inning. Zach Walters smacked his fourth home run of the season off Carlyle in the top of the sixth. When his night was over, Carlyle surrendered two runs on three hits but he also struck out three while surrendering no walks.