Zephyrs take series finale from Omaha

Behind a dominant performance from starter Justin Nicolino and a little pop from Brady Shoemaker, the Zephyrs edged Omaha 4-3 Monday night to split the four-game weekend wraparound series.

Nicolino earned his first Triple-A victory, going six innings and scattering three hits and just one unearned run, while getting just enough offensive support.

Jhonatan Solano led off the fifth inning with his first home run of the season, and Shoemaker followed suit in the sixth, giving the Zephyrs five home runs that have led off an inning so far this season.

Shoemaker also picked up an RBI single in the first as New Orleans improved to 4-1 when it hits at least one home run. The left fielder is now hitting a team-best .346 this season and has a pair of multi-hit games in six contests against Omaha.

Despite leaving 10 more runners on base and going 2-9 with runners in scoring position, the Zephyrs got a boost from Nicolino, who fired 55 of 85 pitches for strikes and registered five strikeouts and just one walk to match his longest start of the season. The southpaw induced a pair of double-plays and faced just two over the minimum before handing the ball to a recently-potent Zephyrs bullpen.

Pat Urckfitz allowed just one hit in two scoreless frames before Nick Wittgren worked an eventful ninth inning. The right-handed flamethrower yielded a two-run home run to Brett Eibner but struck out the side to earn his first Triple-A save.

The Zephyrs continue their eight-game road trip with the first of four in Iowa against the Cubs on Tuesday night. Right-hander Jake Esch will take the hill for his second Triple-A start for New Orleans against Donn Roach.

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