Zephyrs Walk Off With Win Over Chasers

New Orleans claims back and forth affair to start series

By Brett Pollock / Omaha Storm Chasers | July 4, 2011 5:37 PM

Metairie, LA - Joe Thurston singled home the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to push New Orleans past Omaha, 7-6, in an error-filled game Monday night in the opener of a three-game set at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers lost their second straight game and fell into a temporary tie for first place in the American Conference North Division, pending the outcome of the game between Memphis and Nashville.

Irving Falu and Jarrod Dyson pulled off a double steal and a throwing error on the play by catcher Brad Davis allowed Falu to score to give the Storm Chasers a 6-5 edge in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately, a pair of miscues in the home half of the frame led to the game-changing rally.

Ozzie Martinez would double with one out and score to tie the game on a Clint Robinson fielding error. Then, with two runners on and two out, Thurston delivered his decisive hit past a diving Lorenzo Cain in right field to drive in Davis, who had reached on a Falu error, to end the game. Each team wound up committing four errors, with seven of them coming from the seventh inning forward.

Kila Ka'aihue's RBI double in the fourth gave the visitors a 1-0 lead and Cain's lead off long ball in the next inning pushed the Omaha lead to two.

Storm Chasers starter Luis Mendoza held the Zephyrs to one hit through the first six innings before three singles loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh. The right-hander retired the next two batters and was one strike away from escaping the jam when he uncorked a wild pitch that, along with a throwing error by catcher Manny Pina, allowed two runs to score. Mendoza was injured trying to cover the plate and was removed from the game after giving up four hits and fanning three over 6 2/3 innings of work.

Mario Santiago took over and walked Martinez on a wild pitch that scored Mike Cervenak with the go-ahead run, though the New Orleans lead would be short-lived.

David Lough delivered a two-run double in the top half of the eighth to put the Chasers back in front and scored on a Davis throwing error, the third of the inning committed by the hosts, to make it a 5-3 game.

However, New Orleans got the game even in the bottom of the frame on a two-out, two-run single by Cervenak.

The series continues Tuesday night with Omaha right-hander Vin Mazzaro taking the hill against New Orleans right-hander Adalberto Mendez. Coverage of the game gets underway at 6:40 p.m. and can be heard locally on KOIL AM 1180 and online at omahastormchasers.com.

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

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