Sean O’Sullivan was strong for seven innings and supported by a pair of home runs as Las Vegas downed Omaha, 5-1, Friday night in the last of four meetings at Cashman Field. The Storm Chasers fell to 75-52 on the season and will have the opportunity to clinch a second straight division title by beating second-place Nashville once over the next four days at Werner Park.
Las Vegas tallied in the first inning, the only time the opposition plated the initial run or runs of the game on the Storm Chasers just concluded eight-game road trip, on a run-scoring single by Ricardo Nanita. The 51s went on to load the bases with one out but couldn’t add to their lead, as Doug Davis recorded a strikeout and fly ball out to end the threat and minimize the damage.
Nanita struck again in the third, belting a solo home run to make it a 2-0 contest before Mitch Maier responded with a long ball of his own leading off in the fourth to halve the deficit.
The visitors loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh but were stifled when O’Sullivan struck out David Lough, Adam Moore and Kurt Mertins in succession to finish his performance. The missed opportunity proved even more costly when Kevin Howard smacked the first pitch of the bottom of the inning for a home run to extend the hosts advantage to 3-1.
O’Sullivan yielded four hits, walked three and fanned six against his former team to earn his league-leading 14th win. Jim Hoey tossed a scoreless eighth inning and Jerry Gil retired all three hitters in the ninth to close out the Chasers, who have won 14 of their last 20 road games.
Davis was charged with the loss after he gave up three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while recording eight strikeouts, over seven innings. Donnie Joseph took over and issued a lead off walk to Chris Woodward, who came in to score when Luke Hughes followed with a double that stretched the lead to 4-1. The Omaha southpaw then uncorked a pair of wild pitches that chased home Hughes to make it a four-run difference.
Omaha will send left-hander Ryan Verdugo to the mound Saturday night in the series opener against Nashville right-hander Tyler Thornburg.