Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres


Third baseman Scott Moore hit two home runs, the second a one-out two-run blast in the sixth inning, and Memphis won the American South Division series opener on Thursday at Zephyr Field.

The loss was the second consecutive for New Orleans (8-11). Memphis is 8-12.

Redbirds right fielder Stephen Piscotty, the parent St. Louis Cardinals’ No. 3 prospect, had led off the sixth with a triple.

New Orleans took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Jordany Valdespin scored from second base on center fielder Isaac Galloway’s one-out single to to center.

Catcher Vinny Rottino’s homer with Derrk Dietrich aboard in first gave the Zephyrs a 2-1 lead, but Moore tied it with a solo shot in the third.

Starter Andre Rienzo allowed four runs on five hits in six innings but struck out nine, a season-high for Zephyrs pitchers.

Strong in the field

The Zephyrs made a number of excellent fielding plays in Thursday’s game.

Memphis’ Cody Stanley led off the third with a smash off the right-field wall, but outfielder Cole Gillespie tracked the ball, caught it off the wall, then whirled and fired to second base, holding Stanley at first.

The next batter, Piscotty grounded into a double play. Moore then followed with his homer.

In the fifth, shortstop Miguel Rojas went behind the second-base bag, turned and a threw out Stanley. The next inning, Galloway made a sliding catch of a sinking liner of a ball hit by Ty Kelly for the third out.

Hot at the plate

When Riotto homered in the first, it meant he has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games. The only game he has not gotten a hit in his past 13 was on April 26 vs. Nashville, when he went 0-for-4.

He came into the game hitting 15-for-40 (.375) in the past 12 games with eight walks.

Right after his homer, Riotto was also involved in a collision of sorts. Between innings, two young boys participated in a promotion and were rounding the bases in opposite directions, the first to home the winner.

They ran into each other at the plate, then fell onto Riotto, knocking him down. He got up, dusted himself off, then doffed his cap to the crowd.

Extra bases

Z’s left-hander Justin Nicolino (2-0, 0.79 ERA) will go against Redbirds right-hander Boone Whiting (0-1, 6.57) on Friday. Nicolino, the Marlins’ No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, has not allowed an earned run since opening day, a span of 18 innings and three games. He has won his past two starts. … When third baseman Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch from Memphis starter John Gast in the third inning Thursday, it was his Pacific Coast-leading fifth time this season.

Darrell Williams