You couldn't have scripted a better night for baseball in Oklahoma City for the RedHawks home opener Friday night. The weather was perfect, the stands were packed and Gary England even threw out the first pitch.
Unfortunately, the baseball wasn't as great for OKC, as the RedHawks saw their five-game winning streak come to an end with an 8-4 loss to New Orleans.
It was a night of missed opportunities for the RedHawks, as OKC stranded 12 runners, half of those just 90 feet from home plate. Twice, the RedHawks left the bases loaded, including in the eighth inning where one swing of the bat could have tied the score.
Greg Nappo got the win for the Zephyrs in relief while Mike Foltynewicz took the loss for OKC as the second starting pitcher of the night. Chris Hatcher picked up the save.
Pitching was an adventure for most of the night as the two teams combined for nine wild pitches, including four from New Orleans reliever Henry Rodriguez.
OKC starter Rudy Owens found himself in a jam in the top of the third inning as Mark Canha led off the inning with a double and Josh Rodriguez followed with an infield single for New Orleans. Matt Angle singled to left to score Canha for the game's first run.
Rodriguez moved up from first on a wild pitch and Angle's single, then scored on a fielder's choice. Brian Bogusevic hit a grounder up the middle, but Ronny Torreyes flipped to Gregorio Petit, but Petit was taken out by Angle trying to turn the double play.
The RedHawks countered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Japhet Amador blasted a double to the deepest part of the ballpark. The drive hit the 415-foot mark on the wall on one hop and scored two runs to tie the score at two. OKC had a chance to do more damage, but Petit flied out to the warning track in left field with the bases loaded.
In the next inning, Jon Singleton put the RedHawks on top, 3-2, with a solo home run to right centerfield, his third homer of the young season.
Foltynewicz entered the game in the sixth inning for the RedHawks as the second starter in OKC's platoon starting pitcher system. Foltynewicz immediately put runners on second and third thanks to a walk, a single and a wild pitch. Justin Bour then ripped a liner down the first base line that Singleton tried to barehand, but missed. The error allowed two runs to score.
Foltynewicz settled down and retired the next three batters, but in the seventh inning, the struggles continued. The Zephyrs began the inning with four straight hits and ultimately scored four runs in the frame, all charged to Foltynewicz, who last just 1.1 innings.
Foltynewicz has struggled now in both of his stints as the second starting pitcher this year, lasting just 2.1 innings against Round Rock in the season opener.
Things were pretty uneventful in the final two innings, although the RedHawks loaded the bases for Singleton in the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 8-4. Hatcher came on in relief of Rodriguez for New Orleans and struck out Singleton to end the RedHawks' last threat.
The two teams are back in action Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.