April 19, 2014

Storm Chasers grab 1-0 series lead over OKC

The Omaha Storm Chasers won the opener of the American Conference playoffs, 3-1 against the Oklahoma City RedHawks, and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. The Storm Chasers finished the season four games under .500, Oklahoma City, 20 games over.

Right-hander Brian Sanches made the start for the Storm Chasers in place of Yordano Ventura, who was a late scratch, and he threw 5.2 scoreless innings against his former team. Sanches is 6-0 in seven starts since the start of July, and has allowed only five earned runs in 40.2 innings in those starts (1.11 ERA).

Christian Colon provided the offense. He doubled in a run in the sixth to make the lead 2-0 and hit a solo homer in the ninth to provide insurance. Colon led the team with 58 RBI during the regular season and hit a career high 12 long balls.

Game 2 tonight in Oklahoma City.


Omaha Storm Chasers claim third straight division title

Despite a 70-74 record, the Omaha Storm Chasers are the 2013 American Conference North Division Champions, after an 8-4 win over the Round Rock Express. The division title came after Memphis lost in Oklahoma City just about an hour before the Chasers win. It is the third straight postseason berth for Omaha, matching a franchise high for consecutive years in the playoffs.

Omaha is the first team in the Pacific Coast League to qualify for the postseason with a losing record since the full season qualifying format was adopted in 1998. Their opponent in the American Conference Championship will be the Oklahoma City RedHawks, who posted the best record in the PCL this season at 82-62.

The first round of the Pacific Coast League Playoffs will kick off with two games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City on Wednesday and Thursday, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. CDT on both nights. The only guaranteed game at Werner Park is Game Three of the series on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT, and the Chasers and RedHawks will play in Omaha on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CDT and Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CDT if necessary.

Omaha gets swept for the first time this season, now in a first place tie

Casey Coleman was solid through six innings and four different players drove in a run to lead Iowa to a 4-2 decision over Omaha Thursday night in the last regular season road game of the 2013 campaign. The Storm Chasers were swept in a four-game series for the first time this season to fall to 67-73 and into a first place tie with Memphis, a 2-1 winner over New Orleans, in the American Conference North Division.

The Redbirds lead the tie-breaker by taking the season series from the Storm Chasers, who will have to win the division title outright to advance to the postseason.

The Storm Chasers return to Werner Park starting Friday night in a final four game series with Round Rock.

Storm Chaser lose again, but cling to first place

Ty Wright drove in three runs as Iowa rallied for a 5-2 come-from-behind victory over Omaha Wednesday night in the third of a four-game set at Principal Park. The Storm Chasers have lost three in a row and eight of their last 10 to slip to 67-72 but remain one game ahead of Memphis in the American Conference North Division with five games remaining in the regular season. The Redbirds blew a chance to move into a first-place tie blowing a three-run lead in the 10th inning and losing to New Orleans in the 11th on a walk-off home run by Chris Valaika.

Kansas City Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino, making his fifth rehabilitation start with Omaha, breezed through the first three innings, but  ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. Paulino exited with two outs and nobody on in the fifth and gave way to Buddy Baumann, who served up a double to Edgar Gonzalez that was followed by a Wright base hit to increase the lead to three and finished the scoring.

Storm Chasers lead cut to one for division lead

Iowa survived five errors and a late comeback attempt by Omaha in a 7-6 final in the second of a four-game series at Principal Park. The Storm Chasers lost for the seventh time in their last nine games to drop to 67-71 and see their lead over Memphis in the American Conference North Division trimmed to a single game after the Redbirds victory in New Orleans.

The Cubs are now within four games of the lead after they defeated the Storm Chasers for a 10th time in 14 meetings. The series continues Wednesday evening with Omaha sending Kansas City Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino to the mound for a rehab start against Iowa righty Kyle Hendricks.