September 30, 2014

Storm Chasers repeat at Triple-A national champions

The Omaha Storm Chasers defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox 4-2 tonight at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina to capture their second straight Triple-A National Championship, and third Triple-A Championship overall. It is the first back-to-back Triple-A Championships in franchise history. Brett Hayes was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The Storm Chasers led 2-1 through four and a half innings on two RBI by Cheslor Cuthbert, but then the game was halted for one hour and 45 minutes due to thunderstorms. After the delay the PawSox tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth, but then Brett Hayes hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the seventh with two outs to put the Chasers ahead for good. After the Hayes round-tripper, the Omaha bullpen retired nine of the final ten Pawtucket batters to clinch the title and finished a postseason where they only let in one earned run in 35.0 combined innings.

Omaha is the third team to win the Triple-A Championship in back-to-back years.

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Storm Chasers win their second straight PCL Championship

The Omaha Storm Chasers beat the Reno Aces 4-0 Sunday to win their second straight Pacific Coast League Championship, and third title in the last four seasons. They will face the Pawtucket Red Sox in the 2014 Triple-A National Championship in Charlotte this Tuesday, September 16 at 6:05 p.m.

Omaha starter Aaron Brooks tossed a complete game shutout in the Game 5 win and was named the 2014 PCL Playoffs MVP with three wins and only two runs allowed in 24.0 postseason innings. Brooks finished off the 2014 season allowing just eight earned runs in 53.0 innings (1.36 ERA) in seven straight wins.

The Chasers scored three runs in the first two innings.  With two outs and runners at first and second, Brett Hayes lined a double to the gap in right-center, scoring Pedro Ciriaco and Paulo Orlando.  In the second, Whit Merrifield blooped a single into center-field past a diving Mike Freeman to score Cheslor Cuthbert with the third run.

Wingnuts sweep Saltdogs to win A.A. championship

The Wichita Wingnuts defeated the Saltdogs 8-3 Saturday night to complete the sweep and win the 2014 American Association Championship on Saturday night.

Lincoln jumped out to a 3-0 lead, highlighted by a second-inning lead-off homer from Brandon Pinckney.  Wichita tallied a run in the second on a two-out bunt single, and scored  three unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth to assume a 4-3 lead.

The Wingnuts then scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to make it 7-3, before adding a final tally in eighth.

Joe Bisenius (1-2) lasted six innings, yielding seven runs – four earned – on seven hits to suffer the loss. Pinckney, the 32-year old in his final professional game, went 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

Lincoln’s successful 2014 run comes to an end after a Central Division Championship, a comeback division-series win over Winnipeg, and its second Championship Series appearance.

Storm Chasers lose 2-1 and trail 2-1 in PCL championship

The Omaha Storm Chasers could not capitalize on their scoring opportunities and the Reno Aces took a pivotal Game 3 of the 2014 Pacific Coast League Championship by a score 2-1 at Werner Park. Omaha must now win Games 4 and 5 this Saturday and Sunday, both 2:05 p.m. starts, to take home a third PCL title in the last four years.

Despite holding the Aces offense to only four hits for a third straight game, Reno put up just enough offense with a two-run homer by Roger Kieschnick off Omaha starter Sugar Ray Marimon in the sixth (his first runs allowed after 10.0 scoreless innings to start the postseason). After the homer, the Chasers bullpen let on one Aces baserunner in the final 3.2 innings with Scott Alexander, Kyle Zimmer and Tim Collins keeping the score within reach. Omaha relievers have allowed only one unearned run in 25.2 innings in the playoffs while giving up only six hits.

The Chasers could not cash in with any runners on until the ninth inning, stranding seven runners until Brett Eibner singled in a run in the final frame. The late rally was quickly cut down with a double play and a soft groundout to first base, and Omaha is now in a 2-1 hole despite outscoring the Aces 9-8 in the series and outhitting them 27-12. Paulo Orlando had two hits and Whit Merrifield collected one hit, and the pair are tied for the Triple-A Playoff lead with 13 hits.

The winner of Game 3 after a series has been tied at 1-1 has gone on to win the series five out of six times since the PCL expanded in 1998, with the only team winning the series despite a Game 3 loss being the 1998 New Orleans Zephyrs. Omaha is trying to avoid becoming only the second PCL team since 1998 to lose the Championship after winning Game 1 (2002 Salt Lake Stingers).

The Storm Chasers will look to force a Game 5 in the PCL Championship for the first time since 1998 when New Orleans and Calgary went the distance.


Lincoln pushed to the brink in American Association Championship series

The Wichita Wingnuts scored six runs in the first inning and cruised to a 9-2 win over the Saltdogs at Haymarket Park Thursday night to take a commanding two-games-to-none lead in the American Association Championship Series.  The Wingnuts added two more in the second to assume an 8-0 lead. Anthony Capra (1-1) pitched five innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five and walking four to earn the win.

Ian Gac homered in the bottom of the second and Mike Gilmartin hit a RBI single.  Matt Forgatch and Jeremy Hamilton each had multi-hit games for Lincoln.  Kevin McGovern (0-1) allowed six runs in 1/3 of an inning to take the loss.  Wichita has an opportunity to win its first title Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.

RHP Joe Bisenius (1-1, 3.60) is scheduled to pitch for the Saltdogs against RHP Jason Van Skike (1-0, 1.29).