Ed Lucas and Ben Lasater homered in a three-run first inning, and the New Orleans Zephyrs took the opener of the four-game series against the Omaha Storm Chasers, 6-3 on Monday night.
Lucas drilled a 2-0 offering from Omaha starter Nate Adcock over the left field fence to put the Zephyrs on top, and after Bryan Petersen doubled, Lasater followed with a two-run shot to left. It was the fourth home runs of the season for both Lucas and Lasater.
The Z's manufactured another run in the second by executing a double steal. With two outs, Gorkys Hernandez stole second and Wilson Valdez broke for the plate, scoring when catcher Brett Hayes' throw sailed into center field.
New Orleans native Johnny Giavotella continued his hot hitting at Zephyr Field by delivering a two-out RBI double in the third to get Omaha on the board. Giavotella added a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and singled home a run in the ninth, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBI. In eight games at Zephyr Field over the last two seasons, the former UNO star is 12-for-31 with 11 RBI.
Leading 4-2 in the seventh, the Z's tacked on two insurance runs courtesy of RBI singles by Lasater and Matt Diaz, who charted his team-leading 10th multi-hit game of the season.
The Zephyrs got three hits each from Petersen and Kevin Mattison, totaling 14 hits in the game to back left-hander Duane Below, who was making his Z's debut after being claimed off waivers by the Marlins last week. Below (1-0) surrendered two runs and seven hits in five innings and struck out four to earn the win.
Jonathan Albaladejo chipped in two scoreless innings of relief, and Dan Jennings nearly polished off the win by recording five outs before Giavotella's single in the ninth. Chris Hatcher came on to get Chad Tracy on a grounder for the final out to notch his league-leading eighth save.
Adcock (2-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs - five earned - and 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The Zephyrs and Storm Chasers resume the series on Tuesday at 7 p.m.