Former LSU shortstop Austin Nola went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs in his first home game with the Zephyrs, and Jose Urena pitched a complete game as New Orleans won the series opener before a Fourth of July crowd of 9,942 at Zephyr Field.
“The big thing is we won, but to contribute is always great,” Nola said. “I’m going to celebrate with my family, but this is professional baseball, and I have a lot of games in a row to play after this.”
It was Nola’s third multi-hit game in a row.
Urena (5-0), in his first game back from the Marlins, allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one as the Z’s (39-42) won for the fifth time in seven games.
Urena and Nola had run-scoring singles in a four-run fourth that gave New Orleans a 5-0 lead. The Z’s jumped on Iowa starter Frank Batista (0-2) for five runs on 11 hits in five innings.
Juan Diaz was 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a run for the Zephyrs.
Red, white & blue = green
Every Pacific Coast League team gets a home game July 3 or July 4.
Saturday marked the sixth time in seven years the Zephyrs had a home game on Independence Day. The previous Fourth of July home game for the Z’s came two years ago, when more than 11,600 fans attended.
“The Fourth of July is probably our biggest day of the year, even though some years it’s Opening Day,” General Manager Mike Schline said. “You’re not competing with football or basketball, and college basketball is over with. I believe (the Zephyrs’) fireworks show is the best you’re going to see.”
Schline said he was a little nervous when he saw there was a 50 percent chance of rain, even though it was forecast to hit around 11 a.m.
“Luckily, we avoided it, and the overcast worked in our favor, keeping things cool,” he said.
To make room for Urena, reliever Pat Urckfitz (0-4, 5.40 ERA) was placed on the disabled list. Urena was optioned to the Z’s when ace Jose Fernandez returned to the Marlins on July 2 after Tommy John surgery. … The teams will play a doubleheader Monday to make up a game rained out April 16.
Sunday’s game: Cubs at Zephyrs
WHEN: 4 p.m.
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Cubs TBA vs. Zephyrs LHP Adam Conley (7-2, 2.52 ERA)
RADIO: WMTI-FM, 106.1