Z’s batters explode for series-opening win

Vinny Rottino slugged a two-run home run in the first inning to get the ball rolling and the Zephyrs crushed Memphis 13-1 Friday night to start a four-game weekend series with a bang. Rottino’s first of two hits on the night kick-started a Z’s offensive attack that recorded 19 hits, tying a season-high, and set a new season-best with the 13 runs, four more than the previous high.

Rottino picked up his team-best eighth multi-hit game and pushed his batting average to .349. He jumped on a Kyle Hald offering with two outs in the first, upping the Z’s record to 11-4 when they score first.

Catcher Brandon Bantz went 2-for-3 with four RBI, including a two-run home run in the second inning, becoming the second Zephyr to knock in four runs in a game this season. His home run was the just the 12th of his professional career and first since 2013.

Cole Gillespie went 4-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI and every Zephyrs starter recorded at least one hit, including starting pitcher Jose Urena, who recorded his first hit of the year and fifth of his career.

Urena also dazzled on the mound, going 7 1/3 innings, allowing just seven hits and two walks, while striking out four. He lowered his ERA to 0.77 and threw 63 of his 99 pitches for strikes.

The top five in the Zephyrs batting order went a combined 13-for-27 with nine runs scored and eight RBI, and Miguel Rojas extended his hitting streak in away games to 10 with a 2-for-6 night.

New Orleans turned three more double plays, upping its season total to a Pacific Coast League-best 38 and for the 12th time in the last 13 games, the Zephyrs did not commit an error.

The series continues on Saturday night when lefty Adam Conley opposes southpaw Marco Gonzales.

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