Rojas saves the day in Zephyrs victory

Miguel Rojas provided the winning margin with an RBI double in the top of the ninth and speared a potential game-winning single with a diving catch with two runners in scoring position in the bottom half of the frame to boost the Zephyrs to a 4-3 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday afternoon.

Rojas went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, the latter of which came with one out in the ninth, bringing in Isaac Galloway from second base. The center fielder had walked to lead off the ninth off David Aardsma and advanced to second on a ground out by Scott Sizemore.

But Rojas’ biggest play of the day came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position. Vin Mazzaro, who had allowed four hits and three runs in the eighth inning, yielded a double and hit a batter in the ninth and Darwin Barney laced a Mazzaro offering up the middle, but Rojas extended to his left to seal the Zephyrs’ victory.

The Z’s drew first blood by scoring a pair of runs in the fifth off of Dodgers’ starter Mike Bolsinger. Galloway led off with a walk and Andre Rienzo bunted back to the mound, but Bolsinger couldn’t make the play at first and the Zephyrs had runners at the corners with nobody out. Rojas lofted a sacrifice fly into center to bring Galloway home, and after a Cole Gillespie fly out, Jordany Valdespin laced an RBI double to right field, bringing Rienzo in from first.

Rojas singled with one out in the seventh to extend his hitting streak in away games to nine, and Gillespie hit a rocket to third base that Dodgers’ top-prospect Corey Seager speared, but the 21-year-old with only five games of Triple-A experience under his belt threw it into right field trying to force Rojas at second, allowing both runners to advance.

Valdespin plated Rojas with a grounder up the middle to push the Zephyrs lead to 3-0.

Pat Urckfitz got all four batters he faced, including a strikeout of Scott Schebler to lead off the eighth. But following the strikeout, Mazzaro replaced him on the hill and promptly three doubles and a single, blowing the three-run lead and wiping out Rienzo’s chance to win his first game of the season.

Rienzo threw six shutout innings, scattering three hits and one walk, while striking out seven. The right-hander fired 59 of 91 pitches for strikes and now has 16 strikeouts over his last two outings.

Galloway scored twice without recording a hit and swiped his second base of the year. He hadn’t scored since April 25 against Nashville.

Brady Shoemaker went 2-for-4 to up his average to .349 and Gillespie also added two hits for the Zephyrs, who have reached the .500 mark for the second time in three days. New Orleans has not been over .500 all season.

The two teams will finish up the abbreviated three-game series in Oklahoma City on Thursday evening. Lefty Justin Nicolino (2-0, PCL-low 0.63 ERA) is slated to take the hill for the Zephyrs, looking to extend his scoreless-inning streak to 18.

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