The Zephyrs didn’t quite have the offensive output of Thursday night’s season opener. Instead, the team got a solid debut pitching performance from right-hander Jose Urena and played solid defense to notch their first win of the season.
Urena, who spent all of last season in AA Jacksonville, pitched six innings, giving up six hits, one run (earned) and one walk. He struck out five on 80 pitches. The Zephyrs offense, which had 19 hits on Thursday, got 10 hits off of three Omaha pitchers, including starter Joe Blanton. Leadoff man Jordany Valdespin continues to lead the way. He went 3-for-4 with one run scored. Justin Bour went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Derek Dietrich put up the first run with the team’s first home run of the season, a solo blast into the pool area in the second inning. Valdespin added a run in the third when he singled, advanced on a wild pitch a scored on a single by Bour. The Zephyrs added a pair of runs in the sixth inning with a pair of singles by Bour and J.T. Realmuto. Bour scored on a ground-out by Brady Shoemaker, which moved REalmuto to third. He would later score on a wild pitch.
Omaha got its one run in the fifth inning when Orlando Calixte singled to right center field. Jose Martinez then hit a single past a diving Reid Brignac and into left field, allowing Calixte to score.
Valdespin on hitting tear
Zephyrs’ leadoff man Jordany Valdespin is off to a great start. The veteran outfielder, who spent time as a Zephyr last year before being called up to the Marlins in July, went into Friday’s game batting .600. He opened the season Thursday by going 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs, driving in the team’s first two runs of the season.
He followed that on Friday by going 2-for-2 in his first two at-bats, with a run scored then added a double in the seventh. He was thrown out at home trying to score on a single by Cole Gillespie. He was left stranded after his single in the first inning. In the third, he singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Justin Bour.
Valdespin hit .214 with the Marlins last year in 52 games. He led the Zephyrs in every offensive category during Spring Training.
First to leave the park
The Zephyrs knocked 19 hits in Thursday night’s opener, but none of those went over the fence. The first home run of the season came Friday night when second baseman Derek Dietrich, who sent a 3-1 Joe Blanton pitch over the right field fence and into the pool area during the second inning. Dietrich hit .220 in 49 games for Miami last season with five home runs and 17 RBIs.
Zephyrs’ right-hander Jose Urena had an impressive showing in his Triple-A debut. The 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic went six innings, giving up six hits, one run (earned), one walk and striking out five on 80 pitches.
Urena went 13-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) last season with AA Jacksonville, where he threw 162 innings with 121 strike outs. From May 4 through July 14, he lasted through the sixth inning of 11 of his 13 starts, going eight innings three times and seven innings five other times.
Rain, rain stay away
Despite numerous rain showers in the New Orleans area throughout the afternoon and a better than 40 percent chance for more at game time, Friday’s game went off without a hitch, a delay or a drop. Fans were greeted with cloudy skies, but dry seats and temperatures at a comfortable 72 degrees throughout the night.