Tonawanda News — On a cool day at Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon, the Bisons summoned the sunshine with their scorching hots bats, erupting for 17 hits en route to a 12-7 win over Rochester on Opening Day.
Marty Brown, managing his first game as Bisons skipper since he left in 2005, was pleased with the way his team waited for good pitches to hit.
"That's one of the things we stressed in spring training — trying to get good pitches and not selling yourself out," he said. "It was a real good offensive day. They have worked real hard this spring and they faced (Rochester starting pitcher P.J.) Walters in spring training, so they had a good idea what kind of stuff he had going into the game."
Walters only lasted 4 innings, surrendering nine hits and five earned runs.
Six Bisons hitters recorded at least two hits and Buffalo's own Jim Negrych finished with three hits batting in the lead off spot, turning in a spectacular debut as a member of the hometown team.
Brown said that while Negrych isn't necessarily the most talented player on the diamond, he comes to the ballpark every day to compete and always gives opposing pitchers fits because of his tenacious approach at the plate.
"He puts a lot of pressure on the opposing pitching staff every time he goes up there. You feel good when he goes up there," Brown said. "He's not the most talented guy on the field, (doesn't) have the greatest range or arm, but he just has the heart and a chip on his shoulder that makes him competitive beyond belief. It's nice to have Jim on this team and he's a guy that can hit anywhere in the order."
Buffalo center fielder Anthony Gose, one of Toronto's top prospects, shined as well, going 3 for 5 with a double, a run scored and one RBI. Gose's double was the first hit of the game for the Bisons and should have been a single, but the speedster rounded first base hard and tested the left fielder, whose throw was low, allowing Gose to make it in safely at second.