Tyler Viza Ready to Win
Kicking off their home schedule on Thursday evening the Lakewood BlueClaws saw a familiar result. For the 12th time in 14 seasons, the Class A affiliate of the Phillies dropped their home opener, as they fell 6-0 to the Hagerstown (MD) Suns.
In front of an announced crowd of 7,006 at the Jersey shore's finest sports facility, FirstEnergy Park, righty hurler Tyler Viza, a 32nd round draft choice last year, took the mound. The 19-year-old was charged with five runs (four earned) on five hits over five-plus innings of work while striking out five and walking just one.
Viza, a six-foot-three 170-pounder felt like he executed his game plan on the mound, but cited some costly pitches in the 6th frame as the difference in the contest.
"I felt really good," Viza stated. "I felt like my pitches were doing what they were supposed to and I was throwing them where they were supposed to go. I just made a couple bad pitches and (the Suns) knocked on the door, when they needed to."
One of the team's youngest players, Viza, is grateful for the chance to open his 2014 campaign on a full season roster and is already focused on bouncing back to earn wins for the home crowd the next time he has a chance. "I got the opportunity to come and play for a good team with a great bunch of guys and I'm ready for the opportunity and we've got a long season ahead of us and we'll get some wins," Viza added.
On the offensive side for the BlueClaws, doubles by Samuel Hiciano, Carlos Tocci and Gabe Lino were the only safeties to speak of.
The match up was the first of 27 times the BlueClaws will face the Suns (Nationals affiliate) this season. The clubs will continue their series Friday through Sunday in Lakewood. Fans can attend each of those contests for just $1 thanks to the Asbury Park Press.
Jay Floyd created and writes the website PhoulBallz.com about area minor league clubs, like the Lakewood BlueClaws, from the inside. In the autumn of 2010 Jay began writing in a freelance capacity and joined PhilliesNation.com as a minor league contributor and is also a correspondent and panelist on the show of the same name.