Anthony Seratelli hit the game-winning home run as Omaha edged Tucson, 4-3, Friday night in the opener of a four-game series at Kino Stadium. The Storm Chasers won their fourth straight road game to improve to 70-50 on the season and reduce their magic number to clinch a second straight division title to 10.
Clint Robinson started the second inning with a double and advanced to third base on Seratelli’s bunt base hit. David Lough then grounded out to first base before Robinson got caught in a rundown between third base and the plate. Tucson third baseman Jesus Merchan couldn’t handle a throw from catcher Rocky Gale, as the ball caromed off his glove into foul territory, allowing Robinson to score the game’s first run and Seratelli to reach third. Chrisitan Colon then flied out deep enough to chase home Seratelli for his first run batted in at the Triple-A level.
The teams traded runs in the third, as Johnny Giavotella singled in Irving Falu to make it 3-0 before Jeremy Hermida’s RBI hit got the hosts on the board in the bottom of the frame. Omaha starter Nate Adcock avoided further trouble with an inning-ending double play ball but was not as fortunate in the fifth.
Vince Belnome’s two-out, two-run single got the game tied at three but the visitors responded quickly and regained the lead for good when Seratelli led off the sixth with his career-high 17th round-tripper of the season. Padres’ starter Matt Palmer was removed one out later with Lough at second base and replaced by Neil Wagner, who got Derrick Robinson to ground into an inning-ending twin-killing. Palmer suffered the loss after yielding all four runs, two earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out three.
Adcock, who picked up the win, was taken out after a lead off single in the sixth and replaced by Brandon Sisk, who got through the inning but was lifted with two runners on and one out in the seventh. Tommy Hottovy assumed the hill and set down the next two hitters to end the threat. Juan Gutierrez retired all three hitters he faced in the eighth before Donnie Joseph was called on for the ninth. The southpaw issued walks to two of the first three batters he encountered but got Matt Clark to ground into a game-ending double play to sew up the win and earn his first save with Omaha.
The series continues Saturday night with Omaha left-hander Chris Dwyer making the start against Tucson right-hander Kip Wells.