Offense Comes Alive in Game 2 Victory
Chasers collect 18 hits in 15-4 romp; need one win for first PCL title
Mike Feigen / Omaha Storm Chasers
OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha Storm Chasers had a memorable inaugural season at Werner Park, ushering in a new era of Kansas City Royals prospects, winning the franchise’s first division crown since 1999 and hitting a series-ending walk-off home run to advance past the conference championship round. The home slate ended on a high note Wednesday night, as the Chasers crushed the River Cats 15-4 in Game 2 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series, moving to within one win of a league title.
Just as they did during the division-clinching game against Round Rock on August 31, the Storm Chasers fell behind early before cruising to victory. Sacramento jumped out to 3-0, first-inning lead off eventual winning pitcher Vin Mazzaro, capping the inning with a two-run home run to right off the bat of Adrian Cardenas. Mazzaro (2-0) would escape further damage, working five total innings while allowing three runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out two, throwing 91 pitches.
Omaha got back in the game with a run in the first and another in the second before crossing the plate five times with two out in the third. River Cats starter Tyson Ross (0-2) took the brunt of the offensive assault, finishing his evening after 2.2 innings, allowing seven runs – four earned – on nine hits, walking one while striking out three.
With runners on first and second and two down in the third, Irving Falu hit a slow bouncer toward short that looked like it would end the inning. However, the ball took a funny hop and skipped off the glove of shortstop Tyler Ladendorf, loading the bases. Manny Pina then dropped a two run single into shallow left-field, giving the Chasers a 4-3 lead in the game. A fielding error and two singles followed, and by the time the inning was over the Storm Chasers held a 7-3 advantage.
After Sacramento inched closer with a run in the top of the sixth, Omaha put its collective foot on the gas and didn’t let up. The Chasers scored twice in the sixth, three times in the seventh and three more times in the eighth, piling up 18 hits in the contest. Jarrod Dyson finished 4-for-6 with a homer, four RBI, three runs, a double and a stolen base in the winning effort, tripling his total playoff output of two hits entering the night.
David Lough and Clint Robinson also had three-hit games, each tallying a double and two runs batted in. The Chasers had five doubles on the night from five different players and had six players with multi-hit games.
Kevin Pucetas, Brandon Sisk, Zach Miner and Federico Castaneda combined for four innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits and two walks, striking out three batters. With a travel day coming up Thursday, manager Mike Jirschele should have a fully-rested bullpen for any remaining series games.
The Chasers are now 5-1 in the playoffs, needing just one win on the road in Sacramento to claim the first Pacific Coast League Championship in franchise history and first league title since 1990. In the potentially-clinching Game 3, 22-year-old California native and left-hander Mike Montgomery (5-11, 5.32 ERA regular season) will take the mound in his home state for the first time in his career. On the mound for the River Cats will be right-hander Travis Banwart (3-3, 7.38), a pitcher the Storm Chasers have not seen this season.
Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. central from Raley Field in Sacramento. The game can be heard on 1620 The Zone and the Chasers will also host a watch party at Brewsky’s on 156th & Q. Should Omaha win the PCL Championship, the Chasers would battle the International League champion in a one-game playoff on Tuesday in Albuquerque, N.M. First pitch of that contest would be 7:05 p.m., with the game broadcast nationally on VERSUS.