A 3 a.m. wake up call in New Orleans, a three-hour layover in Chicago and a two-run first inning in Omaha made it seem like Friday could be a long night for the New Orleans Zephyrs. Then one ground ball to third base and a heads-up play by Justin Bour turned the tide.
The Marlins' No. 16 prospect helped turn a first-inning triple play, then belted a two-run homer as Triple-A New Orleans rallied to capture their series opener at Omaha, 5-3.
With two runs already across in the first and runners at first and second with none out for the Storm Chasers, Royals No. 15 prospect Cheslor Cuthbert bounced a grounder to third. Derek Dietrich stepped on the bag for the first out of the inning and threw across to Bour at first base for the second. Dietrich's peg was low and, as Bour dug it out, Omaha's Moises Sierra rounded second base too far. Bour threw behind him to second baseman Scott Sizemore, who tossed to shortstop Miguel Rojas for the tag that completed the triple play.
"[Dietrich] threw it in the dirt, which is why I think [Sierra] rounded a little bit," Bour said. "I picked it, and when I came up after I picked it, he just didn't stop. That's when I made the throw and got him out.
"It was huge. That had the potential to be a big inning, and to get three outs in however long it took, ten seconds, was huge for us."
Bour, who also played a role in the Zephyrs' last triple play, erased his team's early deficit when he followed Jordany Valdespin's leadoff triple in the fourth with a one-out homer, his first of the season. In the sixth, it was Rojas' turn when the shortstop belted his first long ball, another two-run blast that put the Zephyrs ahead for good.
"I feel like we've had a bit of a problem piecing things together," Bour said. "I think today's one of those days where we kind of clicked there. Some guys came up big.
"We've all been up probably 19 straight hours. Everyone came in and was pretty excited, started yelling and having a good time. It's pretty good after a game like that to come out with a 'W' and take that momentum into the rest of the series."
After giving up two in the first, Zephyrs starter -- and Marlins No. 8 prospect -- Adam Conley (1-1) settled down to only allow one more run through six innings.
"You've got to give him credit," Bour said. "He stuck in there, never really changed his composure, kept battling. I feel like he was throwing harder at the very end than he was at the beginning. You've got to really appreciate that, that attitude and that drive."
The Zephyrs went 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position as Storm Chasers starter Christian Binford (0-1) gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.