Nieva knocks in winning run as Cards top Baycats

Brandon Nieva's two-out single in the bottom of the eighth cashed Matt Lonetto to give the Hamilton Cardinals a season-opening 3-2 win over the six-time defending champion Barrie Baycats Friday night at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium.

Justin Gideon went 2-for-3 with a run for the Cards (1-0), who picked up five hits in total against a trio of Baycats' hurlers. 

Ben Braun (1-0) earned the win on the mound, striking out two in a scoreless inning of relief. Stefan Strecker picked up the save with a clean ninth, striking out one. Starter Chris Lazar allowed two runs (one earned) on nine hits with eight strikeouts. He didn't issue a walk. 

Lazar outdueled Barrie starter Juan Benitez, who threw five scoreless innings while scattering two hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Lucas Earle (0-1) took the loss, giving up two runs on one hit with a walk in 1.2 innings. 

Offensively, Ryan Rijo went 2-for-5 with a double and a run. Mike Cecchetto drove in the other run, while Marcel Lacasse and Tyler Plumpton each had a pair of hits.