For the second consecutive game, New Orleans didn’t swing the bats well, as Omaha starter Brooks Pounders and reliever Brian Flynn scattered seven hits.
The Zephyrs (3-7), who lost their third consecutive game, scored their only run in the first inning.
“We pitched well, and it was a 3-1 ballgame for the most part,” manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We had some opportunities in the middle innings, had some guys on base. We just didn’t move the runners, and our hitting wasn’t very good.”
The Storm Chasers (7-3) scored all the runs they’d need in the top of the inning. Jarrod Dyson, who led off with a single, scored on a one-out double by Cheslor Cuthbert, and Cuthbert came home on Balbino Fuenmayor’s sacrifice fly.
The Z’s best chance to make a game of it came in the sixth, when they trailed 3-1 and had the bases loaded with one out. However, former Zephyr left-hander Brian Flynn relieved for Omaha and struck out Cole Gillespie and Dusty Coleman hit into a fielders choice for the third out.
Sunday at 1 p.m.: Zephyrs left-hander Justin Nicolino will face Omaha right-hander Miguel Almonte in a marquee matchup for the second time this season. The two squared off in the season opener, with Nicolino getting a victory.
Neither pitchers is expected to be in Class Triple-A long this season.
Omaha’s parent team, the World Champion Kansas City Royals, see Almonte as a middle of the rotation starter. However, Almonte, who has a 95 mph fastball and a choice curve and changeup, didn’t get out of the first inning in the season-opener. Of eight batters he faced, he got one out. He walked four and gave up a grand slam to Destin Hood in the first.
Nicolino, drawing up his experience of getting 12 Major League starts last season, allowed two earned runs in six innings to get the win.
The Z’s Cole Gillespie, who usually plays the outfield, played first base for the first time in his career Saturday.
The Z’s next two games will be day games. at 1 p.m. Sunday’s and Monday is D.A.R.E. Day, in recognition of drug awareness, and will be at 11 a.m. Thousands of elementary school children will be in attendance. … The Z’s Cole Gillespie, who usually plays the outfield, played first base for the first time in his career Saturday and promptly made the defensive play of the game. With two out in the top of the sixth, Omaha catcher Parker Morin lined a hard grounder off the first base bag. Gillespie lunged and caught the ball in foul territory, then flipped the ball to pitcher Ivan Pineyro covering. … When Zephyrs center fielder Kenny Wilson stole second base in the first inning Saturday, it made him 4-for-4 this season, which leads the Pacific Coast League. Omaha third baseman Whit Meffield and Fresno’s Eury Perez came into game 3-for-3. Wilson finished second in the Southern League last year in steals, with 37. The Zephyrs had 48 steals last season, the fewest in franchise history. Thus far this season, New Orleans has 10 stolen bases, second in the league. ... The Z’s entered Saturday 14th in hitting at .233. They also entered at 14th (.205) in batting with runners in scoring position.