Jordany Valdespin lined a walk-off double to right-center field, scoring Juan Diaz and Brian Bogusevic in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday night at Zephyr Field, giving New Orleans a 3-2 win over the Oklahoma City RedHawks and a split of the four-game series.
Robbie Grossman had given Oklahoma City a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning when he scored on Diaz’s fielding error.
In his Triple-A debut, Z’s left-hander Andrew Heaney, the Miami Marlins’ top prospect, allowed one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
The Zephyrs, held to three hits in eight innings, tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Mark Canha singled in Josh Rodriguez from third.
The RedHawks had taken a 1-0 lead in the fourth against Heaney when Max Stassi, who had doubled with one out, scored on Andy Simunic’s two-out single off the glove of Z’s first baseman Mark Canha.
OKC starter Nick Tropeano shut out New Orleans on three hits in 6.2 innings.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Nashville Sounds
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 7 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs RH Elih Villanueva (4-2, 2.68 ERA) vs. Sounds RH Jimmy Nelson (5-1, 1.71)
BROADCASTS: WMTI 106.1 FM, MiLB.tv.
Nashville’s Johnny Hellweg was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year in 2013. However, he had Tommy John surgery on April 29.
Nelson has stepped up strongly for the Sounds, and is now considered the top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization.
Nelson, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound hard-throwing right-hander, is second in the league in earned-run average and has struck out 58 batters in 58 innings in nine games, all starts.
He has given up three earned runs once, on April 10 at Iowa in his only loss, in which he gave up the only home run he has surrendered this season. In the eight other games, he has allowed eight runs in 52 innings.
Nelson throws a four-seam fastball that reaches 95 mph. He combines that with a two-seamer that gets into the low 90s, but the key is that he has masterful control of it, painting strikes on both sides of the plate.
The key to his success this season is that he has cut his walks down from 5.4 per nine innings in 2013 to just 2.6 this season.
He is coming off a 2-1 pitchers duel victory against Oklahoma City’s Mike Foltynewicz, the No. 4 prospect in the Astros’ system, in which Nelson allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out five.
Friday night is New Orleans Pelicans Night, and coach Monty Williams will throw out the first pitch. The Pelicans’ dance team also will be on hand. … The Marlins called up Zephyrs reliever Chris Hatcher on Thursday and optioned pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to the Zephyrs on Thursday. DeSclafani was called up to Miami from Double-A Jacksonville after the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez required Tommy John surgery. He pitched two games, going 1-1. … Brewers left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny began a rehab assignment with the Sounds on Thursday. Gorzelanny, who had offseason shoulder surgery, was on the 15-day disabled list. He is coming off a rehab stint with Advanced A Brevard County that began on May 14 in which he was working to get his velocity up, the Brewers said. Gorzelanny pitched in three games with Brevard County spanning six innings and allowed one run. … Nashville, in first place in the Z’s American South Division, leads the Pacific Coast League in team earned-run average at 3.71, just ahead of Oklahoma City (3.72). The Sounds have three pitchers in the top five individually — Nelson, Brad Mills (3-0, 2.05), who is third, and Mike Fiers (6-1, 2.43), who is fifth. New Orleans is eighth in ERA in the 16-team lead. … Nashville is 11th in hitting (.265), with the Zephyrs 15th (.251).