For the second straight day, the Omaha Royals and New Orleans Sunday split a doubleheader at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Royals won the opener 7-4 and the Zephyrs prevailed by the same core in nine innings in a see-saw battle in the second contest.
In the opener, New Orleans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Logan Morrison doubled home the first run and Hector belted a two-run homer – his 16th of the season – off Omaha starter Gaby Hernandez.
Zephyrs starter Wes Whisler (1-4) still had a 1-0 lead with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the third when the Royals coaxed back-to-back walks and then strung together four straight singles to take a 4-3 lead. Kila Ka’aihue’s two-run single brought Omaha within a run and Scott Thorman’s two-RBI knock capped the rally.
The Royals added three insurance runs in the sixth inning. Jarrod Dyson drove in the first tally with a single and collected his second steal of the game, before scoring on David Lough’s team-leading eighth triple. Lough came in on Ed Lucas’ third single of the contest to make it 7-3.
Greg Holland (3-3) allowed a two-out homer in the seventh to Morrison. That was followed by a walk and a single to bring the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out Gookie Dawkins to end the game.
In the second game, the Royals scored twice in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead, only to see New Orleans rebound with a three-run sixth, chasing Omaha starter Philip Humber and gaining a 4-2 advantage. The Royals scored twice in the sixth, tying the game at 4-all when Scott Strickland issued a bases loaded walk to Lough. However, Mike Moustakas followed by hitting a screaming right at first baseman Mike Lamb who turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Strickland (4-0) wound up working 2.2 scoreless innings to get the win. Royals closer Josh Rupe (1-3), who came on in the sixth inning, tired in the ninth giving up three runs on three hits. The big blow was Scott Cousins three-run double lined just out of the reach of Moustakas at third to break the tie. Chris Leroux retired Omaha in order in the bottom of the ninth to record his first save.
Omaha (53-49) hosts New Orleans (49-52) in the series finale Monday at 12:05 p.m. The Z’s have righty Tom Mastny (2-1, 2.48) on the hill, while Kansas City right-hander Gil Meche (0-0, –) will make a rehab assignment start for Omaha.