Whit Merrifield went 4-for-6 with three runs scored to pace a 15-hit attack in Omaha’s 7-4 victory over Oklahoma City Saturday night at Bricktown Ballpark. The Storm Chasers lifted their record to 44-37 and extended their lead over the Iowa Cubs to a game and a half and to two over the RedHawks in the American Conference North Division. Omaha has won five of the seven games in Oklahoma to claim a winning record there for the third time in the last four years and also clinched the season series with nine wins in 15 meetings with one more to go.
Bouncing back quickly after their walk-off defeat Friday night, the Storm Chasers jumped on Asher Wojciechowski for two runs in the first inning, including a run-scoring hit by Jimmy Paredes, and added another pair in the second on a run-producing fielder’s choice grounder by Christian Colon, who then scored on a wild pitch, to forge a 4-1 advantage. Robbie Grossman’s lead-off long ball and an Enrique Hernandez sacrifice fly in the third brought the hosts within one.
Three straight singles in the fifth, the last of which by Matt Fields plated Merrifield, made it a 5-3 game and gave the visitors nine hits against Wojciechowski, who was making just his fourth start of the season due to injury. The right-hander was tagged with the loss after he walked one, hit a batter and fanned four over his four frames. Following a perfect fifth from Jorge De Leon, the RedHawks turned to Paul Clemens, who yielded a two-out RBI double to Paulo Orlando in the sixth that pushed the visitors advantage back to three. Preston Tucker’s first Triple-A homer brought OKC to within 6-4 before back-to-back singles by Matt Duffy and Max Stassi chased Omaha starter Aaron Brooks from the hill after 5 2/3 innings during which he yielded nine hits, walked three and fanned four. Casey Coleman took over and was greeted by a Joe Sclafani base hit but Orlando threw out Duffy at the plate, the second runner cut down trying to score by the Chasers and third RedHawks runner thrown out on the bases.
Carlos Peguero, playing in his first game since June 5 due to a quad injury, accounted for the final margin with a solo blast in the seventh and wound up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Coleman finished off two scoreless innings and gave way to Tim Collins, who retired all four hitters he faced to preserve the Chasers 16th win in their last 20 road games and earn the save.