Nashville scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning against reliever Pat Urckfitz in the series opener Saturday at Zephyr Field.
The loss was the fourth in five games for the Zephyrs, who just completed an eight-game West Coast trip.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said. “(Urckfitz) got up in the zone and behind against the hitters.”
Zephyrs starter Rob Morey had scattered nine hits in seven innings, allowing one run. Reliever Greg Nappo pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, setting up left-hander Urckfitz (0-3) for a close.
However, Urckfitz loaded the bases with back-to-back singles and an intentional walk. Anthony Aliotti singled in pinch-runner Matt Carson. And Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch, bringing in catcher Bryan Anderson. Shortstop Numan Romero scored on second baseman Joey Wendle’s groundout.
Many ways to the majors
With the Miami Marlins having added stellar second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado, versatility appears to be the ticket for former starting second baseman Derek Dietrich. He has been playing second, left field and recently, first base.
All that moving around hasn’t affected Dietrich at the plate. Coming into Saturday’s series opener against Nashville, Dietrich had hit .390 in his past 11 games.
“It does kind of take your focus off the at-bats, but in a good way,” Dietrich said. “You just kind of go up there and react: see the ball and hit the ball.
“I’d never played left (field) or first base, but first base is in the infield. I just try to focus on where I’m supposed to be.”
Dietrich is batting .273 this season with 12 doubles and seven home runs, the homers matching his total in a short stint with New Orleans last season. He has three homers and six doubles during his current hot streak.
“I’m starting to get comfortable and really find my swing consistently every day,” he said, “and it’s really been a good stretch.”
Fly and play
The Z’s arrived at Zephyr Field about 3:30 p.m. for Saturday’s game, which began at 6.
Their previous game, at the Tacoma Rainiers on Friday, ended about midnight. But since Pacific Coast League teams take commercial flights, the Z’s didn’t leave Seattle until 6:30 a.m. Saturday. They had a connecting flight in Denver at 11 a.m.
“We got to the airport in New Orleans at 2:30, and it took an hour to get our bags and get to the ballpark,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said.
“I’ve had about two hours sleep.”
Marlins starting pitcher Mat Latos was designated to the Zephyrs on a rehab assignment. He has been on the DL with left knee inflammation. Latos is scheduled to pitch the second game of Monday’s doubleheader. … Dave Marlarcher, who helped the Chicago American Giants to Negro Leagues titles in 1926 and 27; A.B. Freeman, who bought the New Orleans Pelicans baseball team in 1937; and Butler Powell, a former St. Aloysius High School and Loyola standout catcher who played six years in the Milwaukee Braves’ organization in the 1960s; were inducted the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday. They were introduced during the second inning. Former Zephyr C.J. Nitkowski, now a Major League Baseball analyst, was inducted in January.
-- Darrell Williams