Justin Nicolino worked six scoreless innings in his return to the Zephyrs' rotation, and New Orleans scored three times in the fifth inning en route to a 5-1 victory over the Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday night.
In his first start back from a stint with the Miami Marlins, Nicolino retired the first 12 batters of the game until Tyler White reached on an infield single leading off the fifth. Nicolino (4-3) gave up three hits and has allowed just two earned runs in 19 1/3 innings over his last three Triple-A starts to lower his ERA to 2.44.
Fresno starter Mike Hauschild kept the Zephyrs off the board until the bottom of the fifth, when Isaac Galloway doubled down the left field line with one out.
After Hauschild hit Kenny Wilson with a pitch, Adrian Nieto blooped a single into left field and Galloway beat the throw to the plate to break the scoreless tie. Catcher Tyler Heineman threw wildly to third base as Wilson was advancing on the throw, allowing Wilson to also come all the way around to score on the play.
Nieto trotted home moments later on a single by Robert Andino, who has hit safely in 24 of his last 30 games, to put New Orleans on top 3-0.
Matt Juengel doubled in the sixth and scored on a single by Tomas Telis to stretch the lead to 4-0.
A two-out home run by Teoscar Hernandez in the seventh off Chris Reed broke up the shutout bid, but the Z's regained a four-run cushion in the eighth on Juengel's second double of the game to capitalize on a walk to Destin Hood.
Hauschild (7-8), who was coming off a brilliant nine-strikeout victory over Reno a week ago, was charged with four runs on eight hits in six innings to take the loss.
The Zephyrs out-hit Fresno, 11-4, and moved above .500 at home for only the second time this season at 20-19.
New Orleans and Fresno wrap up the four-game series on Sunday at 4 p.m.