October 23, 2014

Storm Chasers advance to fourth straight PCL Championship

The Omaha Storm Chasers beat the Memphis Redbirds 6-2 to take the American Conference Championship 3-1 and advanc to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series for a fourth straight year. Omaha becomes the third team in league history to advance to four straight Championship Rounds.

Omaha set a franchise record by allowing only six total runs in the four games, the fewest runs given up in any playoff series. The previous record was nine runs that Omaha allowed to the Indianapolis Indians in the 1978 American Association Championship Series. The Storm Chasers bullpen let in only one unearned run in 13.0 innings against Memphis.

Game 1 of the 2014 Pacific Coast League Championship will be hosted by Reno, and will kick off Tuesday, September 9th at Aces Ballpark. Game 2 will take place on Wednesday, September 10th.

Storm Chasers take game one of their PCL playoff series with a shutout over the Redbirds

Some of Omaha’s top hitters are now with the parent Kansas City Royals for their September playoff push, but the Storm Chasers still pounded the ball and got a dominating pitching performance in a 7-0 victory in game one over the Memphis Redbirds.

The Storm Chasers (1-0), we backed by a dominant start from wins leader Aaron Brooks in the opener of the American Conference Championship Series. It was the biggest playoff shutout win in Omaha’s 46-year franchise history.

Brooks threw eight shutout innings, matching a career high with ten strikeouts in his first career postseason game. With the eight scoreless innings, Brooks has thrown 20 consecutive shutout innings.   He has also allowed only six runs in 37.0 innings (1.46 ERA) in five straight wins.

Omaha got three home runs from players making their Triple-A postseason debut. Matt Fields had a three-run shot with two outs in the fifth, his 29th on the year. Cheslor Cuthbert hit a solo homer and Whit Merrifield finished off the scoring with a two-run shot in the seventh.

The Chasers look to take a commanding 2-0 lead as they send out LHP John Lamb (8-10, 3.97 ERA) in Game 2 of the Best-of-Five Series. He will face off with Redbirds RHP Zach Petrick (7-6, 4.62 ERA).

Omaha Storm Chasers win their fourth straight division title

The Omaha Storm Chasers (75-67) clinched a franchise record fourth straight division title, eliminating the Oklahoma City RedHawks with a 13-8 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to win the American Conference North. The Storm Chasers will face the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A affiliate) in the American Conference Championship at Werner Park.

Omaha will host Games 1 and 2 of the series this Wednesday and Thursday, with both days having start times of 7:05 p.m., while Games 3-5 will be played at AutoZone Park in Memphis. During the 2014 season, the Storm Chasers and Redbirds split their 16 games at 8-8.

Omaha entered their final series of the season trailing Oklahoma City by 2.0 games, but reeled off four straight wins over the Sky Sox while the RedHawks suffered three straight losses to the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines to help them capture the crown. The Chasers are the only team in the Pacific Coast League to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.

 

Storm Chasers lose but close on first place

Justin Bour had three hits, and drove in four runs to lead a 13-hit attack as New Orleans beat Omaha, 8-5 on Sunday afternoon at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers have lost two in a row to fall to 55-52 but gained a half-game in the standings to move to within a half-game of first place Iowa, which was swept for a second straight day in a doubleheader, in the American Conference North Division.

The Zephyrs grabbed a three-run lead in the first inning on a home run by Bour. New Orleans added on a run in the second on a double play grounder, one more in the third on a sacrifice fly by Juan Diaz, and another pair in the fifth on an error and another sac fly ball to extend the lead to 7-1.

Christian Colon started the climb back for the Chasers in the sixth with a homer, his second in 10 days against NOLA starter Andrew Heaney, to trim the margin to five.  In the seventh, Omaha closed the game to 7-4 and then in the eighth, Carlos Peguero homered to cut it to 7-5.  The Zephyrs added an insurance run in their half of the eighth inning for their 11th win in 15 games against Omaha this season.

The series and road trip wrap up Monday night with Omaha left-hander Joe Saunders taking the mound against NOLA right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.

Johnny Giavotella drives in five runs in Chasers win over Sacramento

Johnny Giavotella had three hits, including a home run, and drove in five runs to power Omaha past Sacramento, 10-4, Wednesday night in the third of four games at Raley Field. The Storm Chasers finished with 16 hits to lift their record to 35-31 overall and 17-17 on the road and remain a half-game behind victorious Oklahoma City in the American Conference North Division.

Tyler Ladendorf opened the home first with a triple and scored the game’s first run when Andy Parrino followed with a base hit. Omaha starter John Lamb then walked the next two hitters to load the bases but wriggled out of the jam by striking out Nate Frieman, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor in succession to squash a potentially big inning and flip the momentum. Omaha answered in the top of the second and went up for good with two-out RBI hits by Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando, who extended his road hitting streak to 34 consecutive games, and a wild pitch that scored Jesus Flores to make it a 3-1 game.

Omaha scored again in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Christian Colon that was followed by Giavotella’s three-run shot that opened the lead to 7-2 and knocked Sacramento starter Matt Buschmann out of the game after 3 1/3 innings during which he yielded nine hits, walked three and fanned four. Giavotella doubled home a pair and scored on a wild pitch to expand the visitors advantage to 10-2 in the eighth.