MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brandon Laird is seeing the baseball well early in the season.
The RedHawks' third baseman had three hits Friday, including a two-run homer in the second game, as Oklahoma City split a Pacific Coast League doubleheader at Memphis. Laird had two singles in the opener, a 9-0 Memphis win. His first homer of the season helped Oklahoma City win the nightcap 8-7 before 8,053 fans at AutoZone Park.
The regular season was scheduled to start Thursday, but the opener was rained out. The teams played two seven-inning games Friday.
Jose Valdez notched his first save of the season in the second game, but only after Memphis rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it close. Valdez also assured starter Paul Clemens of a victory after he threw a solid five innings.
Memphis had taken a 2-1 lead after two innings, but Laird's homer during a four-run third inning helped give Oklahoma City the lead for good.
In the first game, Memphis had all it needed after a one-run first inning. But the Redbirds added eight more in the fifth for good measure. They scored a couple of runs off bases-loaded walks and two more when center fielder Robbie Grossman misplayed a deep fly by David Freese.
The Hawks and Redbirds continue the series with a single game at 6:05 p.m. Saturday.