Nick Tropeano tossed eight solid innings and Preston Tucker added four hits and three runs batted in as part of a 17-hit attack to lead Oklahoma City past Omaha, 10-3, Sunday night in the last of four meetings at Bricktown Ballpark. The teams split the set, leaving the Storm Chasers at 44-38 overall and holding on to a half-game lead over the Iowa Cubs and a one game edge on the RedHawks in the American Conference North Division. Omaha claimed the season series, 9-7, and took five of the eight games played in Oklahoma.
The visitors manufactured a run in the first inning, marking the third time in the series they had scored in their initial at-bat, on a lead-off double by Merrifield, a Brian Bocock sacrifice bunt and a Johnny Giavotella sacrifice fly. The RedHawks evened the count in the second on an RBI hit by Austin Wates but missed out on a chance to add more when Omaha starter John Lamb got Joe Sclafani to bounce into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Giavotella's run-producing ground out and a two-out run-scoring hit by Matt Fields moved the Chasers in front, 3-1, in the third but they were shut down from that point forward. Tropeano got stronger and was dominant in retiring 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, including seven by strikeout, and not allowing another runner to advance past first base. The right-hander gave up seven hits, did not issue a walk and fanned nine to earn the victory.
Domingo Santana fielder's choice grounder brought home a run and was followed by two-out RBI hits by Tucker and Wates to give OKC the lead for good, at 4-3, in the bottom of the third. Lamb lasted only three frames and took the loss after he was charged with four runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out a pair in his shortest outing of the season.
Buddy Baumann tossed a scoreless fourth and was replaced by Chris Dwyer, who yielded a run-scoring ground out to Wates in the fifth and an RBI double to Marc Krauss in the sixth that extended the OKC advantage to 6-3.Ramon Troncoso assumed the hill in the seventh and surrendered a two-out single to Ronny Torreyes that plated Carlos Perez to push the margin to four before Tucker's two-run single off Blake Wood in the eighth put the game out of reach.