LANSING - Lugnuts manager Ken Joyce entered the 2006 campaign excited about the lineup that he would put on the field each night, and his team did nothing to disprove that thought as Lansing beat the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays 9-3 on Opening Night at Oldsmobile Park.
With the score knotted at 3-3, Jesus Gonzalez led off the fifth inning by slapping a base hit to left field. Sean Shoffit then stepped up and knocked a double off of the left field wall to move Gonzalez to third. Gonzalez later scored on a Chris Gutierrez groundout to give the Lugnuts a 4-3 lead. Joey Metropoulos then struck out, but advanced to first on a wild pitch that allowed Shoffit to score.
The Lugnuts added three more runs in the sixth when the first four batters reached base. Josh Bell's RBI single plated Brian Pettway to increase the lead to 6-3. Cory Patton scampered home on a throwing error by Devil Rays catcher Matt Lopez, and Bell later scored at on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly to push the lead to 8-3.
Chi-Hung Cheng (1-0) picked up the win for the Lugnuts by tossing five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, with only one run earned.
Mike Wlodarczyk (0-1) took the loss for Southwest Michigan.
Lansing (1-0) and Southwest Michigan (0-1) will play game two of the four game series on Friday at Oldsmobile Park. The game will feature a Carlos Zambrano figurine giveaway presented by Auto-Owner's Insurance. First pitch is set for 7:05.