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Redbirds Squander Early Lead, Fall 11-5 In Las Vegas
Kozma, Scruggs Homer In Losing Effort
06/22/2014 1:02 AM ET
 (Allison Rhoades / Memphis Redbirds)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Las Vegas 51s began a four-game series with an 11-5 defeat over the Memphis Redbirds in the opener of a four-game series on Saturday night at Cashman Field.

Shortstop Pete Kozma and former UNLV product Xavier Scruggs each homered and drove in a pair of runs in a losing effort.

Mets top prospect and 51s starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (6-4) allowed five runs with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for the victory. The right-hander allowed three first-inning runs before retiring next 16 in a row.

Memphis jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Syndergaard, who used 25 pitches to get through the inning. After a Stephen Piscotty (2-for-4) two-out RBI single, Scruggs tattooed a two-run homer over the wall in left center. The long ball was Scruggs' eighth of the season.

Las Vegas would score eight unanswered over the next four innings to take a 8-3 lead, immediately getting two runs back in the first on a Matt Reynolds RBI double and run-scoring groundout by former Redbird Andrew Brown.

Two innings later, Tim Cooney (7-5) retired his first batter before allowing the next six straight to reach. The five-run rally was highlighted by three-run homer by Anthony Seratelli. Travis d'Arnaud got in on the action in the fourth with an RBI double to extend the lead to 8-3.

Syndergaard settled down to retire the next 16 consecutive Redbirds before running into trouble in the seventh inning. After another Piscotty base hit, Kozma went deep over the center field wall to cut the deficit to 8-5. The homer was the infielder's fourth of the season.

Las Vegas hit another three-run homer in the eighth to extend the lead to 11-5, a long blast by Cesar Puello off Dean Kiekhefer, who snapped a consecutive scoreless streak of 20.1 innings. All five of Kiekheher's runs this season have been scored via three home runs.

Cooney set a career-high with eight earned runs on eight hits and five walks over four innings.

Memphis and Las Vegas continue its four-game series at 2:05 pm CT on Sunday afternoon from Cashman Field. The Redbirds will send righty Boone Whiting (0-5, 4.65) to the mound against Las Vegas right-hander Joel Carreno (2-4, 4.70). 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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