A trio of former University of Kentucky pitchers took the mound in minor league baseball's season opener, and it was Minnesota Twins prospect Alex Meyer that came away with the victory on Thursday afternoon.
Meyer (1-0) gave up three earned runs on four hits and six walks in Triple-A Rochester's 6-3 victory at Buffalo. Meyer, who had three strikeouts, was aided by fellow former Wildcat Logan Darnell's shutout inning of relief.
The third ex-Cat, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Andrew Albers (0-1), started for the Bisons and took the loss after giving up four earned runs on eight hits in 4-2/3 innings.
The Rochester-Buffalo matchup was also minor league baseball's debut for its new speed-up rules, and those hit a glitch on opening day. Pitchers have 2 minutes and 25 seconds to begin their windup or come to set between innings. And 20 seconds to do so between pitches.
Each pitch is supposed to be timed by three clocks in the stadium — two behind home plate and one beyond center field. The clocks worked through two innings before the center field clock went out to start the third. It came back on at the start of the fourth inning. All three clocks then went out at the top of the sixth, then came back on for the bottom half of the inning.
"It just hung up and we had to find a way to get that cleared and going again," International League President Randy Mobley said. He said league officials have been reviewing the glitch with the Bisons. "We've got a little bit of learning to do on that yet."
Albers got his first pitch off with about 13 seconds left on the pitch clock to open the game. Meyer was even quicker, getting his first pitch off with 27 seconds left on the clock.
Meyer isn't a fan of the new rules.
"I think it's dumb that we have to go out there and think about it," he said. "But it's part of it. We've got to deal with it."
The first inning lasted an efficient 15 minutes, and the first three innings took exactly 45 minutes.
■ Starter Pedro Fernandez pitched 4-1/3 shutout innings with eight strikeouts and the Lexington Legends went on to defeat host Charleston 3-2 in the Class A squads' season opener.
The Legends' 7-8-9 hitters — Wander Franco, Chad Johnson and Carlos Garcia — combined for four of their nine hits and both RBI.
■ Former Western Kentucky standout Wade Gaynor, an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers' organization, had three doubles and three RBI in Triple-A Toledo's 13-0 rout of host Louisville.