Zephyrs 2, Storm Chasers 1
For the second straight game, New Orleans scored early, and its pitching staff made it stand up, beating Omaha on Tuesday at Zephyr Field.
Four Zephyrs pitchers scattered 10 hits, as Omaha was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 runners. Jordan Smith (2-1) pitched 2.1 innings and didn’t allow a run or hit.
The Zephyrs took a 2-1 lead with two out in the third inning when Gorkys Hernandez scored from first on Ed Lucas’ double off Justin Marks (0-1).
For the second consecutive game, the Zephyrs scored in the first inning. Hernandez walked, stole second and scored on a well-executed hit and run when Bryan Petersen singled to right.
Omaha tied it in the third when David Lough’s fly to right field brought in Brandon Wood from third.
Chris Hatcher got his league-leading ninth save for the Zephyrs.
What: Omaha Storm Chasers ast New Orleans Zephyrs.
Where: Zephyr Field, Metairie.
When: 11:30 a.m.
RADIO: WTMI 106.1 FM.
Probable pitchers: Zephyrs right-hander Doug Mathis (1-2, 1.66 ERA) vs. Storm Chasers left-hander Chris Dwyer (3-1, 2.56).
Officially, it’s Web Wednesday. Fans can follow the Zephyrs on Facebook and Twitter and get an exclusive offer for today’s game.
It is also D.A.R.E. — Drug Awareness Resistance Education — day, which is the reason for the 11:30 a.m. start. About 7,000 children from 54 area schools will attend.
Zephyrs center fielder Kevin Mattison had a slow start to the season at the plate, going just 3-for-29 with no walks in his first 10 games, during which he struck out 14 times. Mattison has gotten a hit in his past nine consecutive games, the longest hitting streak by a Zephyrs player this season and surpassing his best in Triple A: eight games last season. After going 3-for-4 in the series opener against Omaha on Monday night, Mattison is 15-for-33 during the streak, a .455 average. He has raised his season’s average to .286.
“We’ve been real patient with Kevin, and the last couple of nights, he’s starting to swing the bat,” manager Ron Hassey said. “He’s waiting for his pitch instead of going after the pitcher’s pitch, and it’s starting to pay off for him.”
If Wednesday’s game is rained out, Zephyrs officials will wait until then to determine whether to play a doubleheader Thursday or one during the Zephyrs-Storm Chasers’ series at Zephyr Field on May 24-28, which is already a five-game set.
The Zephyrs were batting a paltry .223 with runners in scoring position, a big reason why they entered Tuesday’s game with an 11-12 record, fourth in the American Southern Division. The Zephyrs were 3-for-12 in Monday’s opener (.250).
With the strong pitching staff the Zephyrs have (3.96 ERA, fifth in the PCL), Hassey said he was very pleased with the team’s 14 hits Monday night as the team tries to bounce back from a 3-5 road trip by winning this home series.
“We feel like our starting pitching will keep us in ballgames,” he said. “We’ve just got to score some runs.
“In our road trip, we weren’t patient at the plate.”
HE SAID IT
“It’s hard for me to tell what kind of pitcher he is; this was the first time I’ve seen him. … We picked him off a 40-man roster. So he’s in our rotation.” - Hassey on new pitcher Duane Below, a left-hander who allowed just two runs on seven hits in five innings in the opener.