The West Michigan Whitecaps had to postpone their Thursday home opener because of inclement weather, so they opened the season with a doubleheader on Friday instead.
And instead of playing a traditional doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games, the Whitecaps and the South Bend Cubs played 23 innings — a 7-inning game and a 16-inning one. Pitching dominated both games, as each team was held to only two hits in the first game and six hits in the second game. The Whitecaps won both games, 2-0 and 1-0.
The Whitecaps scored both of their Game 1 runs on a triple by Anthony Pereira. RHP Kyle Funkhouser, the No. 5 Detroit Tigers prospect according to Baseball America, excelled in his Midwest League debut. He struck out nine batters while allowing only one hit and one walk in five scoreless innings, and got the win.
Game 2 lasted four hours and 33 minutes. Blaise Salter ended it with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 16th inning. But before that happened, the Whitecaps struck out 24 times and the Cubs struck out 19 times. Every Whitecaps batter struck out at least twice. Salter — who had the game-winning hit for West Michigan — struck out five times, as did South Bend’s Chris Pieters.