2013 Power may be team to deal with

Looking to accomplish a feat its MLB parent club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, were unable to do, the West Virginia Power opened its 2013 season hosting South Atlantic League rival Asheville Thursday night

The Tourists have enjoyed an advantage over the Power, winning two out of every three meetings a year ago (8-4) to up its overall mark against the Charleston-based club to 37-27.

That, nor a misty rain that greeted the more than 1,000 fans who showed up at Appalachian Power Park, overshadowed the festivities that are opening night at every ball park in the country.

And while those brave few (at least those who remained when the mist turned into a steady downfall) were not treated to a victory, they did witness several significant firsts in the 3-0 setback.

* The first strike of the game came on the very first pitch by Dominican Republic native Joely Rodriguez as the left-hander shot a fastball past Asheville’s Kyle Von Tungeln.

* The first strikeout of the game came one batter later when Rodriguez sent the Tourists’ Rosell Herrera back to the dugout on three straight pitches.

* Getting the first hit of the game, however, was Asheville’s Tom Murphy, who laced a pitch back up the middle to open the top of the second inning. Rodriguez, who finished with eight strikeouts in his five innings of work, was able to work his way out of the jam.

* Fans had to wait a lot longer for the Power to get its first hit of the season. That came courtsey of designated hitter Walker Gourley to lead off the third inning.

* That, however, was the only bright spot for the hosts offensively as Asheville’s Eddie Butler, a first-round pick (No. 46) in the 2012 draft, did a great job of keeping the Power’s hitters off base until his offense came alive.

He didn’t have to wait too long as the Tourists finally got to Rodriguez in the top of the fifth inning, connecting for three hits and bringing in the first two runs of the season – the first coming on a wild pitch by Rodriguez (yes, his first of the season).

Butler did make it long enough to pick up his first win of the season, allowing only a single hit while striking out seven and walking one in 5 1/3 innings of work.

* First-year Power manager Michael Ryan made his first pitching change in the sixth inning as Raleigh, N.C., native Jason Creasy made his first relief appearance of the season. It was not a good one as the right-hander surrendered the visitors’ third run of the contest.

* The good news for fans, however, is that the Power will have 139 more chances to pick up that first win of the season. And with a roster that appears to have some talent (both in the field and on the mound), that initial victory could very well be the first of many victories this season.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com