Colorado Springs erased an early Zephyrs lead with a three-run fourth inning, then took control with a four-run fifth to take a 9-5 win over New Orleans on Wednesday at Zephyr Field.
It was the sixth loss in eight games for New Orleans (15-17), which won Tuesday’s series opener to go to 6-5 at home.
“We didn’t do a very good job of throwing zeroes,” Zephyrs manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We scored some runs and got a lead, but then we gave it right back.”
Center fielder Keon Broxton hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Zephyrs starter Chris Narveson, giving the Sky Sox a 5-4 lead.
In the fifth, Colorado Springs (13-18) jumped on reliever Hunter Adkins (0-1), who had just arrived from Double-A Jacksonville. With one out, Adkins hit Andy Wilkins with a pitch, gave up a single to Manny Pina, then threw a wild pitch, putting both in scoring position.
After former Barbe High School standout Garin Cecchini brought a run in with a sacrifice fly, Eric Young Jr. doubled, bringing in another run. Then, reliever Tim Dillard (2-0) smashed a two-run homer to left, pushing the lead to 9-5.
Big Nola day
It was a game in which the Zephyrs wore their blue alternate jerseys, meaning third baseman Austin Nola’s last name would be on the front.
And he was front and center. Nola went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. He had a three-run double in the second that gave New Orleans a 4-1 lead. Then after Colorado Springs surged ahead 5-4 in the top of the fourth, Nola answered in the bottom half with a single to center field that brought in Don Kelly, tying the score.
“I’ve been focusing on just seeing and hitting the ball,” said Nola, who endured a slump that brought his average down to .195 on May 3.
He has gotten a hit in six of his past seven games, however, going 8-for-20 to increase his average to .258.
Ex-Tiger Ross appears
Nola was 3-for-3 before facing former LSU teammate Austin Ross in the seventh inning and lining out to right field.
Ross entered at the start of the inning and gave up a leadoff single to Kenny Wilson. After Nola’s line out, Ross got Xavier Scruggs to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
Ross is in his second season in Triple-A with Colorado Springs after being called up from Double-A Biloxi, where he and Nola faced each other many times. Ross appeared in 23 games last season and thus far has pitched 17.2 innings in 12 games, going 2-1 with a 6.11 ERA.
Wednesday’s attendance was 2,852, nearly all of them school children, teachers and parents. It was another D.A.R.E. Day crowd, with the game beginning at 11 a.m. ... Brian Ellington pitched one inning in the 1-0 series-opening win Tuesday, one of four pitchers to appear for the Zephyrs. Although Ellington issued three walks, he didn’t allow a hit or a run and now leads Pacific Coast League relief pitchers in opponents’ batting average at .116. Batters have gone 5-for-43 against this season against Ellington, whose fastball reached 98 miles per hour during Tuesday’s game.
WHO: Sky Sox at Zephyrs
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Zephyr Field
PROBABLE STARTERS: Sky Sox RHP Tyler Cravy (0-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. Zephyrs TBD
RADIO: WODT-AM, 1280
— Darrell Williams