Zephyrs 12, Storm Chasers 8
New Orleans blasted a season-high 18 hits in winning the series opener against Omaha on Thursday at Zephyr Field.
It was the second consecutive win for the Zephyrs (8-13), who scored four runs on four hits in the first inning, all with two outs against 41-year-old Brett Tomko.
Former Jesuit High School and UNO standout Johnny Giavotella went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, a double and two runs for Omaha (10-10), the defending Triple A National Champion.
What: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Omaha Storm Chasers
Where: Zephyr Field, Metairie
When: 7 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Zephyrs RH Bryan Evans (2-1, 4.22 ERA) vs. Storm Chasers LH Chris Dwyer (1-1, 4.15)
Broadcasts: WMTI 106.1 FM. MiLB.tv.
Prospect to watch
Former Jesuit High School and UNO standout Johnny Giovatella, 26, is in his fourth season with Omaha and seventh in the Minor Leagues.
Giavotella, who played second base, and shortstop Christian Colon helped Omaho win the 2013 Triple A National Championship, giving the Storm Chasers a strong middle infield. Giavotella played third in Thursday’s game.
Giavotella, who played in a 14 games last season with the parent Kansas City Royals (batting .220), had a good spring training, hitting .341 (14-for-41) in 21 games, with a home run, two triples and three doubles. He scored nine runs and drove in seven.
He has picked up where he left off with a good start in Pacific Coast League play, batting .333 (14-for-42) with six doubles, seven runs and five RBI in 11 games.
Giavotella, who played on Jesuit’s 2005 Class 5A championship team, batted .286 in 100 games last season with Omaha.
He is on the Royals’ 40-man roster.
Brian Poldberg is in his first year as manager of the Storm Chasers, replacing legendary PCL manager Mike Jirschele. Jirschele was promoted to Royals manager after guiding the Storm Chasers to two Triple A National Championships in three seasons, with Omaha also reaching the Pacific Coast League title series in 2012.
Poldberg has 14 years managing experience, all in the Royals’ farm system, including the past six with Northwest Arkansas of the Texas League. He is from Omaha and played in the Yankees and Royals organization before becoming a coach and manager. Jirschele managed Omaha’s franchise for 14 years, including the past 11 in a row. … Thursday’s starting Storm Chasers pitcher, Brett Tomko, 41, is the oldest player in franchise history. He has 14 years Major League experience, but last pitched in the big leagues in 2011, with the Texas Rangers, appearing in eight games. He last pitched professionally in 2012, spending stints in four leagues, the last with Reno of the PCL, appearing in two games, both starts. Tomko, 6 feet 4, 220, reportedly was consistently throwing 91-93 miles-per-hour fastballs in spring training and had good command of his curve and changeup.