MISSIONS WIN OPENER DESPITE CASE OF NERVES
Travis Blackley gets first start since ‘04
Lorne Chan, San Antonio Express-News – 7 April
CORPUS CHRISTI — Missions starter Travis Blackley (Cheltenham VIC) has been on thousands of pitching mounds, but nerves took over when he stepped onto the rubber Thursday.
Not only was this opening day for the lefty, but it was his first game since 2004.
Blackley pitched in his first game since recovering from surgery on his left shoulder and led the Missions to a 4-3 victory over Corpus Christi in front of 6,803 at Whataburger Field.
He threw six innings and gave up one earned run.
"I was more nervous today than when I pitched in the big leagues," Blackley said. "In the major leagues, the adrenaline took over, and I didn't have time to think about it, but here, I felt the expectations on my shoulders, no pun intended."
Blackley, the 2003 Texas League pitcher of the year, pitched in six major-league games in 2004 for Seattle before he injured his shoulder, and he missed last season while recovering.
He struck out three batters and allowed three hits but hit Hooks centerfielder Josh Anderson with a pitch twice. Blackley threw 73 pitches and was still hitting 87mph in the sixth inning.
"I'm stoked," Blackley said. "It was a long wait, but I don't think I've ever done this well on opening day."