COMSTOCK PARK, MICH. - It's a sign that Summer is not far away. Baseball season officially kicked off this week.
And after rain and snow postponed the Whitecaps home opener on Thursday, they played a double header Friday night. And fans definitely got their money's worth. Both games went a total of 23 innings.
In the opening game, the Whitecaps accumulated only two base hits, but defeated South Bend 2-0. Kyle Funkhouser, making his Whitecaps debut, pitched brilliant baseball in the victory, allowing only two singles, walking one and striking out nine batters in five innings of work. The win earned Funkhouser (1-0) his first professional victory. Offense was rare as both the Cubs and the Whitecaps accumulated two hits apiece in the seven-inning game.
The only scoring in the game came in the 'Caps second inning. Anthony Pereira laced a triple into the gap in deep right center field, scoring Austin Athmann and Cole Baumi, who both reached base on consecutive South Bend infield errors. Bryan Garcia closed out the seventh inning for the Whitecaps, and picked up his first save of the season. Duncan Robinson (0-1) took the loss for South Bend despite only allowing two hits over five innings.
Game two proved to be a marathon. Originally scheduled for seven innings, the game remained scoreless until the 16th inning. A two out single by Jake Robson and a walk to Elvis Rubio set the stage for Whitecaps first baseman Blaise Salter. Salter promptly greeted Cubs reliever Vimael Machin with a solid single to right field, scoring Robson and giving the Caps a 1-0 victory and sweep of the only Opening Day doubleheader in Whitecaps history. Eudis Idrogo was solid in his first start of 2017, throwing five innings of three hit baseball, striking out five and allowing no walks before giving way to five Whitecaps relievers. Trent Szkutnik (1-0) picked up the win in his two innings of work. Both teams stroked six hits in the second game. Machin (0-1) absorbed the loss for South Bend, who fell to 0-2 on the young season.
The 'Caps moved to 2-0 with their wins in front of 3,030 fans on a clear but cold day.
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