Baby Cakes claim opener behind Gallen’s gem

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METAIRIE – The wait was worth it.

Zac Gallen, Jarlin Garcia and Tommy Eveld combined to strike out 17 batters in a combined one-hitter as the Baby Cakes opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Round Rock Express on Friday night..

Gallen jumped head first into the new season with seven no-hit innings, facing the minimum in the process. The only baserunner came on an error by first baseman Matt Snyder, which was nullified on a caught stealing.

Gallen struck out a career-high 11 hitters, throwing 60 of his 87 pitches for strikes. He set down five of the first nine he faced by way of the strikeout, and ended his night with an emphatic four-pitch punchout of Nick Tanielu to finish off the seventh.

Despite tallying seven hits and three walks to that point, questionable baserunning and bad breaks squandered any scoring chances and left Gallen without a decision. Isaac Galloway led off the eighth with a bullet down the left field line for a double. After a walk, Galloway advanced to third on a fly out and a bobbled transfer on a potential double play grounder allowed him to scamper home with the game’s first run. The ‘Cakes added a vital insurance tally on a wild pitch later in the inning.

After Jarlin Garcia (1-0) had struck out the side in order, keeping the Baby Cakes’ no-hit bid intact, Round Rock finally broke through on Jack Mayfield’s leadoff home run in the ninth off Tommy Eveld. But Eveld responded with three consecutive strikeouts of his own to earn his first Triple-A save and give the Baby Cakes a new franchise-record 17 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The overall team record of 29 strikeouts came in a 24-inning affair on May 5, 2006 in Nashville.

Round Rock’s Cy Sneed (0-1) took the loss in relief of starter Brady Rodgers, who danced around six hits and three walks in five innings to keep New Orleans off the scoreboard.

New Orleans improved to 14-13 all time in Opening Day contests, and the 2-1 result equaled the lowest scoring home opener in team history, happening on three other occasions, all wins.

The Baby Cakes resume the five-game series with Round Rock tomorrow with a doubleheader. Game one begins at 5 p.m., with Hector Noesi facing off against Akeem Bostick.

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