Aguila's Walk-Off Homer Wins Z's Season Finale

Zephyrs rally for three in 9th to force extras, where Aguila's homer wins it

August 29, 2008 8:30 PM ET

The New Orleans Zephyrs got word in the sixth inning that, due to Hurricane Gustav, Friday's game would be their last of the 2008 season. They made it a memorable one.

The Zephyrs rallied from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, and after falling behind in the top of the 11th, got a walk-off, two-run homer from Chris Aguila in the bottom half to win what turned out to be their season finale, 11-10 over the Nashville Sounds.

With Hurricane Gustav churning in the Gulf of Mexico and evacuation plans underway in the New Orleans area, the Zephyrs moved Saturday's game from 6:00, to 1:00, and then to 11:00 a.m. before finally cancelling the game while Friday's contest was in progress. The Z's had a 6-2 lead at the time, thanks to a four-run fourth inning highlighted by home runs from Aguila and Trot Nixon.

Nashville came back with two in the sixth, two in the seventh, two in the eighth, and three in the ninth to forge a 9-6 lead. Brendan Katin's three-run homer in the ninth off Carlos Muniz capped the Sounds' comeback, but the bullpen could not hold the lead.

Luis Pena walked all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, and Nixon cleared the bases with a double into the right-center field gap, tying the score at 9-9. But the Zephyrs failed to get the winning run home, sending the game into extra innings.

In the 11th, Nashville's agressive baserunning gave them a 10-9 advantage, when Mat Gamel scored on a force out at second base after a hard slide by Adam Heether to break up a potential double play ball.

Again, however, the Zephyrs came back, this time on a leadoff single by Valentino Pascucci and, one out later, Aguila's towering drive over the wall in center field to provide the Zephyrs with a season-ending win.

Aguila went 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBI in the game, and finished the season with 29 homers, one short of the New Orleans club record of 30 held by 2004 teammates Phil Hiatt and Mike Coolbaugh.

Nixon chipped in four RBI of his own, and pitcher Brandon Knight, in his first game back from winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, had a two-run double at the plate.

The Z's used eight pitchers, with Ivan Maldonado (4-5) picking up the win after allowing one run in one inning.

The Zephyrs conclude the 2008 season with a record of 66-75.

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

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