Opening night at PNC Field had an Olympic feel.
That’s because Luzerne County’s Olympians were on hand throwing out ceremonial first pitches. Harding’s U.S. Paralympic bronze medalist Stephanie Jallen had the honor and so did Berwick’s Jayson Terdiman, who participated in the men’s luge in February at the Sochi Games.
The Olympic heroes returning to be honored must have brought some luck to the RailRiders as they came back with a four-run sixth inning to defeat Syracuse. It’s the first time the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise won a home opener at PNC Field since 2010. The franchise technically won its home opener in 2012, but that was the season where every game was played on the road.
In case you missed it
The most important thing you might have missed over the last seven days was that the team won its home opener and more than 6,000 fans saw the rally and the victory.
There were also some lows to the first full week of the season as the RailRiders were swept in a three-game series at Rochester, including a doubleheader that took nearly five hours to complete. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had the opportunity to win two in a row after winning the second game of a twinbill against Syracuse on Sunday. But after a rainout on Monday, the team lost its next game.
That meant SWB has not won consecutive road games since winning three in a row at Louisville last July 26-28.
The IronRail Series gets started this week on Thursday when the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies comes to Moosic to start a four-game series. The IronPigs will be coming to town with a few hot players. Catcher Cameron Rupp has just five hits this season, but four are home runs. He also has seven RBI, a .739 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.118. Right-hander David Buchanan leads the pitching staff with a 1.64 ERA in two starts. He could be pitching this weekend.
As a reminder, the RailRiders won the series last year. Because of that, if they win any of the games during the series, a video of Lehigh Valley president and general manager Kurt Landes singing in a fat lady suit will be shown on the video board after the game.
Before the Ironpigs series, the RailRiders head back on the road for four games and will see familiar face Dan Johnson, who played in Moosic last season and is now with Buffalo. Johnson is off to a very good start for the Bisons, hitting .300 with two homers and six RBI. He’s also drawn seven walks and has an on-base percentage of .464 as Buffalo got off to a 4-0 start this season.
This week’s promotions
There’s only three home games this week, but all three tilts have promotions you won’t want to miss. Today is the Sunday staple Family FunDay where select autographs can be had prior to the game and kids can run the bases afterwards. There’s also a schedule magnet giveaway since that was planned for Friday but was postponed. This way, you can slap it on the fridge and will always know when the team will be home.
Friday might be one of the most unique promotions this season as it is Outdoors Night with special guest Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty set to make an appearance. On the field, the players will wear a camouflage jersey, and after the game the Friday Fireworks show will be held.
It’s fitting that the RailRiders are playing the IronPigs on Saturday because they are the former Red Barons, and Saturday SWB will honor the greatest Red Baron player, as voted on by fans, Jon Zuber. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Zuber statue.