The Omaha Storm Chasers (49-56) led 4-2 after seven innings and looked to put themselves in position to tie Iowa for first in the division if the Cubs lost tonight, but the Oklahoma City RedHawks (56-49) exploded for seven runs in the eighth and nine runs in the final two frames to hand Omaha an 11-4 loss. The Chasers had given up only ten runs in the first 23 innings of the series before the nine-run outburst.
The RedHawks led off that eighth inning with five consecutive hits, but leftfielder Ruben Sosa capped the rally in a big way with the first ever inside-the-park homer by any player in Werner Park history to score the final two runs in the inning. Oklahoma City had six hits before the eighth but had seven hits as they batted around, and the last inside-the-park home run against Omaha came all the way back in 2002 when Michael Restovich pulled off the feat at Edmonton when the Trappers were still a member of the Pacific Coast League.
Omaha starter Justin Marks was strong in his first seven innings, allowing six hits and only two runs on a Brandon Laird homer in the fourth, but gave up two hits to lead off the eighth that came around to score after he was lifted. Marks has posted four starts this season of seven or more innings, tied with Chris Dwyer for the team lead, and despite the four runs given up on the day he has allowed only six runs in his last 20.2 innings at Werner Park over three starts.
The Storm Chasers built their 4-2 lead on a pair of homers by Quintin Berry and Christian Colon, the first Omaha homers at Werner Park since the series opener against Round Rock on July 11. Berry’s two-run homer in the fourth answered Laird’s homer in the top of the inning, and was his first at Werner Park in 15 games. Colon’s solo shot to lead off the fifth was his eighth of the year, tying a career high for long balls in a season he set during the 2011 season with Northwest Arkansas.
Omaha and Oklahoma City will lock up for their final meeting of the regular season, as the Chasers will look to earn an 8-8 split of the season series. Right-hander Yordano Ventura (3-3, 4.54), who made his Triple-A debut against the RedHawks on June 6, will take the hill for Omaha and has 20 strikeouts in his last 16.0 innings. Oklahoma City will send out right-hander Jake Buchanan (2-2, 3.75) with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.