Lefthander Christian Friedrich got the nod for the Sky Sox (0-1), and started his third consecutive Opening Day and delivered arguably his best start.
Friedrich tossed five innings, scattering four hits, allowing one run, while striking out nine batters. His only blemish was a solo-homer by Zephyr left fielder Kyle Jenson to lead off the second inning. The nine Ks were the most on Opening Day in Sky Sox history.
New Orleans starter Brian Flynn protected the Zephyrs’ lead with six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk, while striking out five batters. Flynn is the reigning ERA king in the Pacific Coast League.
The Zephyrs’ 1-0 lead remained for much of the game until left fielder Tim Wheeler led off the eighth inning with a triple. In the next at-bat, catcher Michael McKenry hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Wheeler and tie the game.
New Orleans answered immediately in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Manny Corpas (0-1) with a lead-off single by Jensen, followed by a Justin Bour RBI double in the next at-bat. Corpas was able to get out of the inning with two fly outs and a ground out.
In the ninth, a potential Sky Sox rally began when leadoff hitter and center fielder Jason Pridie singled to start the inning, but was later picked off at first by Zephyr closer Chris Hatcher., who allowed a walk but bounced back with two strikeouts to end the game.
Zephyr Arquimedes Caminero (1-0) picked up the win with two innings of relief work.
Sky Sox lefty Boone Logan (Major League rehab assignment) pitched a scoreless sixth inning striking out two, but did allow a single and a walk.
Righty Rob Scahill also pitched a scoreless frame with one strikeout and one hit, a soft line-drive single.
Rutledge and Paulsen were the other two Sky Sox players with hits, both singles.
The Sky Sox will take on the Zephyrs at 6 p.m. MT Friday night in New Orleans in Game 2 of the four-game series. On the mound will be a pair of righties, Christian Bergman for Colorado Springs and Bryan Evans for New Orleans.