October 31, 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.

Story courtesy OmahaStormChasers.com

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.

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.

Story:  OmahaStormChasers.com

Storm Chasers come back home with the PCL Championship Series tied 1-1

The Reno The Aces rallied for all four of their runs in the second inning off Omaha starter John Lamb, as Mike Freeman and Nick Ahmed each drove in two runs on consecutive at-bats with two outs for a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of the Pacific Coast League Championship.

The Storm Chasers have allowed only 12 runs in the PCL Playoffs, and seven of those runs have been allowed by Lamb in six innings over two starts. The bullpen has not allowed an earned run in 22.0 innings in the 2014 Playoffs.

Omaha attempted to rally in the eighth by trimming the deficit to 4-2 on a Paul Janish double, but a run was taken off the board later in the inning when Whit Merrifield was called for runner interference on a double play by Reno.

Merrifield had four hits on the night, and leads Omaha and the Triple-A Playoffs with 12 hits.

Game 3 is Friday night at Werner Park.

Fast start helps Storm Chasers to opening win in PCL Championship game

The Omaha Storm Chasers (1-0) scored all their runs in the first two innings and got a great pitching effort from Aaron Brooks to take the 2014 Pacific Coast League Championship Series opener against the Reno Aces in a 6-2 final. Omaha is now 12-3 in road games over the last four postseasons.

Omaha jumped all over Reno in the first inning for three runs, chasing Reno starter Clayton Richard. The Chasers added another three runs in the second inning, which would prove to be enough offense to take a 1-0 series lead. Cheslor Cuthbert provided the major blow in the first inning with a two-out, two-RBI single while Brett Hayes collected a RBI single in both the first and second innings. Omaha has outscored opponents 24-8 in the playoffs.

Brooks allowed just two runs for his sixth win in as many starts and 14th win counting the regular season and the playoffs. Brooks’ only blemish was a two-out, two-run shot to Andy Marte in the sixth, snapping his 25 inning scoreless streak.

During the last four years in the playoffs, Omaha has won Game 1 in seven out of eight series. The Storm Chasers have never lost a series during the four years when winning the opener.

Omaha has now won nine of their last ten games dating back to the final five games of the regular season.

The Chasers will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead tomorrow night as they send out LHP John Lamb (8-10, 3.97 ERA) in Game 2. He will face off with Aces RHP Bradin Hagens (1-1, 2.55 ERA) from Aces Ballpark in Reno.