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Nola’s rare power surge leads Z’s to win

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Austin Nola hit two home runs to power the New Orleans Zephyrs to a 7-4 win over the Omaha Storm Chasers on Sunday afternoon and a split of the four-game series at Werner Park.

Nola, who had hit just one home run in each of his first four professional seasons, drilled a two-run blast off Omaha starter Jonathan Dziedzic in the second inning to give the Zephyrs the lead.

The former LSU star followed his first career Triple-A homer with a solo shot in the ninth against David Huff to break out of a season-opening 1-for-11 skid.

Nola's first home run erased a 1-0 deficit after Omaha strung together three consecutive singles off Z's starter Kendry Flores in the first inning.

The score remained unchanged until the seventh, when the Zephyrs scored four times to break the game open. Taking advantage of an error by Omaha first baseman Cody Decker, an RBI double by Tomas Telis scored Kenny Wilson, and after a run-scoring single from Isaac Galloway, two more runs came across on a double by Robert Andino.

The Storm Chasers clawed back within 6-4 in the eighth with three runs off Scott McGough, but Andre Rienzo stranded the bases loaded to preserve the lead, then retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his first career save.

Flores lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks, before giving way to Kyle Barraclough (1-0), who inherited a bases-loaded jam in the fourth but got Brett Eibner to ground out to keep the Zephyrs in front.

Dziedzic (0-1) took the loss despite surrendering only two unearned runs in five innings. He struck out eight, and three Omaha pitchers combined to fan 15 Zephyrs batters.

New Orleans continues its road trip on Monday at 6:35 p.m. with the first of a four-game series in Des Moines against the Iowa Cubs.