The Omaha Storm Chaser wrapped up the regular season with a 7-2 loss to Iowa Monday afternoon. The Chasers dropped their final two games to finish 79-63 and missed out on winning 80 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Brett Jackson’s lead off long ball in the home first got the scoring started and was the first home run allowed by Omaha starter Kevin Pucetas since June 30. The Cubs added another run in the second on a two-out RBI hit by their Canadian catcher Chris Robinson, who was honoured on Chris Robinson Day at the ballpark.
The Chasers tied the game in the third on run-scoring hits by David Lough and Clint Robinson, who joined Chris Hatcher, who collected 106 RBI in 1998, as the only players in franchise history to drive in 100 runs in a single season. However, Omaha was blanked over the final six innings by Jay Jackson, Nick Struck and Robert Coello.
Pucetas lasted four frames before giving way to Willy Lebron, who took the loss after allowing four unearned runs in the fifth. Iowa had the bases loaded and two out when Lorenzo Cain got his glove on but couldn’t make the grab on a Marquez Smith fly ball which permitted all three runners to score. Robinson followed with a double to drive in Smith to complete the decisive rally.
Omaha will send right-hander and PCL Pitcher of the Year Luis Mendoza to the mound against Round Rock right-hander Eric Hurley Wednesday night in the opener of the best-of-five American Conference Championship Series at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, TX.