METAIRIE — Matt Diaz hit a three-run homer in the sixth, as the Zephyrs finally broke loose at the plate in beating Memphis on Friday night at Zephyr Field.
It was the first victory in the series for the Z’s (7-7), who had been shutout twice by Memphis (8-6) and scored just three runs in 27 innings in the previous three games.
The homer came after Ben Lasater hit a two-out single to left, scoring Kevin Mattison from second base. That represented the Zephyrs’ first lead in the series. With Bryan Petersen and Lasater on base, Diaz immediately followed with his blast to left field off starter Tyler Lyons (2-1).
Zephyrs starter A.J. Battisto allowed two hits over four innings, and David Aardsma (1-0) allowed one hit in two innings.
What: New Orleans Zephyrs at Round Rock Express
Where: Dell Diamond, Round Rock, Texas
When: 7:05 p.m.
Broadcast: WMTI, 106.1-FM
Probable pitchers: Zephyrs LH Brad Hand (2-0, 0.00) vs. Express RH Josh Lindblom (1-0, 0.75)
The Miami Marlins recalled right-hander Tom Koehler after designating John Maine for assignment.
Koehler was scheduled to pitch Friday night’s game against Memphis. Although he has an 0-1 record after three starts with the Zephyrs, Koehler, the team’s ace, had given up just two earned runs in 17 innings (1.06 ERA). In last Sunday’s game against Round Rock, he became the Z’s career strikeouts leader, with 268.
The Zephyrs added reliever James Nygren from Class A Jupiter. He pitched four games, going 0-1 with 10.13 ERA.
Perhaps Zephyrs pitcher Elih Villanueva can take encouragement from Koehler’s being called up.
Heading into the Z’s weekend series at Round Rock,Villanueva is coming off two solid starts, but has nothing to show for it as far as victories. On Thursday night against Memphis at Zephyr Field, he pitched six innings and gave up just three hits, walked two and struck out three in losing 1-0 against Redbirds highly touted prospect Michael Wacha.
In his previous outing, April 13 vs. Round Rock at Zephyr Field, he gave up four hits and struck out five. However, Zach Phillips, who replaced Villanueva in the sixth, got the win in a 3-2 Z’s victory.
New Orleans Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez threw out the first pitch before Friday’s game. Vasquez played shortstop and center field in his native Venezuela. … Friday’s temperature, 57 degrees, was the lowest ever for a Z’s game in April at Zephyr Field. … Paul Gran had an inauspicious debut with the Z’s grounding into a double play in the second in his first at-bat with the bases loaded. A hit would have given the Z’s the lead for the first time in the series.
Sunday: Zephyrs RH Doug Mathis (1-1, 2.45) vs. Express RH Ross Wolf (0-1, 1.80), 1:05 p.m.
Monday: Zephyrs RH Jacob Turner (0-2, 8.74) vs. Express LH Brad Mills (3-0, 1.42)
Tuesday: Zephyrs RH Elih Villanueva (0-2, 4.86) vs. RH Randy Wells (0-3, 6.60)
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