All four of the Pirates' full season affiliates opened their seasons on Thursday. Despite the fact that none of the Pirates' top pitching prospects started (they don't do the opening day starter thing in the minors), the four teams combined to strike out 37 hitters in 34 innings. Unfortunately, their own hitters whiffed 44 times and all four affiliates lost.
-- Indianapolis got an excellent start from Andrew Oliver, but dropped a 4-0 shutout to Columbus. Oliver, who struggled to throw strikes during spring training, had little trouble until he started losing the strike zone a bit in his last two innings. He still finished with six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks, while fanning six. Vic Black followed and struck out the side in his first inning, but loaded the bases with one out (also a strikeout) in his second inning. Mike Zagurski then promptly gave up a grand slam to Jeremy Hermida. The Indians managed only three singles, two of them by Alex Presley. Brandon Inge went 0-2 with a walk as the DH.
-- Altoona got pummeled by Erie, 10-6. Brandon Cumpton started and fanned six over five innings, but gave up four runs. Nate Baker gave up five more while recording just one out. Jarek Cunningham hit the organization's first HR of the year and also had a double. Matt Curry and Alex Dickerson, the latter playing right, each had two singles. Adalberto Santos played third and went 1-3 with two walks. Former Pirate prospect Ramon Cabrera went 3-5 with two doubles for Erie.
-- Bradenton lost, 4-3, to Fort Myers. Starter Robby Rowland had control problems, walking four in five innings while allowing three runs, two earned. Eliecer Navarro gave up the winning run in relief. Jacob Stallings, ostensibly a defensive specialist, went 3-3 with a double and a HR. Taylor Lewis also had a double and a HR. Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco each went 0-4, with Hanson striking out three times.
-- West Virginia got shut out by Asheville, 3-0. The Power got a strong start from Joely Rodriguez, who threw four shutout innings before giving up two runs in the fifth. He fanned eight while allowing five hits and two walks. Jason Creasy fanned three in three innings of relief, giving up one run. Power hitters fanned 14 times, including everybody at least once and Stetson Allie four times. They managed just two singles.