Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres

Zephyrs

Left fielder Vinny Rottino hit a three-run homer with two outs in the third inning, and third baseman Juan Diaz followed with a solo shot, as New Orleans roughed up former LSU pitcher Anthony Ranaudo on Wednesday at Zephyr Field.

Adam Conley (7-2) allowed one hit through six innings, the second consecutive game a starter pitched shutout ball for the Zephyrs (33-37) against American Southern Division leader Round Rock (42-29). The only hit against him was a two-out single in the first by second baseman Tommy Field.

“I’m excited about the way we’re playing,” Conley said, the Z’s winning for the fourth time in six games. “We’ve always played great defense. Now, a couple of key guys in the lineup are swinging the bat really well.”

It also was the second consecutive game in which a three-run homer broke open a 2-0 game. Diaz hit one in Tuesday’s series opener.

The six runs, coming in four innings, were the most scored this season against Ranaudo (7-2), who came into the game with a 2.45 ERA, fourth in the Pacific Coast League.

Hamilton joining Express

Zephyrs fans are expected to see Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton in Thursday’s final game of the series.

Hamilton is on a rehab assignment. He strained his left hamstring running out a walk-off double on May 31 and has been out since.

In seven games this season with Texas, Hamilton has batted .273 with five RBIs and five runs.

Extra bases

Rottino, Diaz and Jordany Valdespin each went 2-for-4 Wednesday. Batting at the top of the order, Valdespin, shortstop Miguel Rojas and right fielder Cole Gillespie each went 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s opener. …. Round Rock was held to four hits Wednesday after getting just three on Tuesday against Zephyrs’ pitching. … The Express has not been swept in a series this season, although all of the other ones were four games, except for three against New Orleans in Round Rock on June 15-17, which the Express swept. Before the first two games of this series, the Zephyrs’ three previous games against the Express each were decided by one run.

Darrell Williams

Each of New Orleans’ previous seven losses to Round Rock had come by one or two runs. … The Z’s complete their second three-game series against the Express on Thursday. With series usually consisting of four games, the teams make up for it with five-game series at Round Rock on July 8-12 and at Zephyr Field Aug. 5-9.

Darrell Williams