Will Smith toiled for six solid innings on the hill and Xavier Nady’s three-run home run put Omaha ahead to stay in a 7-3 victory over New Orleans Monday afternoon at Zephyr Field. The Storm Chasers salvaged the final game of the four-game set and improved to 24-26 to move to within 2 ½ games of Memphis in the American Conference North Division.
Former Storm Chasers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff singled home the game’s first run in the first inning and the Zephyrs were poised to double their advantage in the second until Willy Taveras threw out Jake Smolinski at the plate trying to score on a Paul Gran base hit. Christian Colon started the fourth with a single, moved to third base on a Johnny Giavotella single and scored to even the game when Gran committed a fielding error on a Max Ramirez grounder. Nady then stepped up and blasted his eighth home run of the season off of A.J. Battisto to put the visitors in front for good.
Gil Velazquez singled in a run in the fifth to draw the Z’s within 4-2 and they had the bases loaded and nobody out but could not score. Smith struck out former Omaha infielder Ed Lucas and Anthony Seratelli doubled off Velazquez at first base after catching Kouzmanoff’s fly ball to right field. Smith improved to 4-2 after allowing one earned run on nine hits while walking one and fanning six. Battisto was tagged with the loss after yielding six runs, five earned, on six hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Omaha then stretched the lead to five in the sixth with the help of on an RBI hit by Nady, Willy Taveras getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and a run-producing ground out by Paulo Orlando. Everett Teaford gave up a run in two innings of relief work before Kelvin Herrera closed the door with a scoreless ninth.
The Storm Chasers begin a four-game set in Oklahoma City Tuesday night with left-hander Chris Dwyer taking the mound against Redhawks right-hander Jarred Cosart.
Coverage of the game gets underway at 6:45 pm and can be heard locally on 1180 Zone 2 The Deuce and online at omahastormchasers.com.