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.