Fresno Grizzlies

A grand Grizzlies opening: Fresno’s minor league baseball team begins season in style

As much as the Fresno Grizzlies had hoped for a perfect season opener, it wasn’t an entirely smooth start.

A few stadium lights went dark prematurely during the middle of the game.

And on the field, the Grizzlies quickly fell in a two-run hole after just one inning.

But the drama merely made the night all the more memorable as the Grizzlies turned on the lights just in time and came up with a big hit at the right moment to rally back for a 5-4 victory against the Reno Aces in 10 innings on Thursday night at Chukchansi Park.

The season opener drew an announced crowd of 9,155.

And many were excited not only to see pro baseball back in action in downtown Fresno, but all the new features inside the downtown stadium after Grizzlies ownership spent $3.4 million in renovations.

There was the new social area beyond left field.

A baseball-themed splash park area beyond right field for the kids.

And a remodeled club level for those who prefer to watch baseball in style.

Thursday also mark the Grizzlies’ debut as a Washington Nationals affiliate, this after spending the past four years as the Houston Astros Triple-A club.

Taylor Gushue drove in the winning run with an RBI single to center field that plated in Alec Keller from second base with two outs in the 10th.

Keller began the 10th being automatically placed on second base as part of Minor League Baseball’s extra-innings rule that went into effect last year to help decide games more quickly.

Nationals top prospect Carter Kieboom, by the way, finished 0 for 5 while batting second in the order.

Veteran Collin Cowgill, who has spent six seasons in the majors, batted 2 for 3 and supplied a solo home run.

Jacob Wilson also homered for Fresno.

The Grizzlies and Aces continue the five-game series Friday with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m.