The Storm Chasers scored in every inning but one, belting out 19 hits and taking advantage of 11 walks on their way to a 16-7 win Sunday afternoon over Albuquerque in the fifth and deciding game of the PCL American Conference Championship Series.
Omaha will face the Reno Aces, who defeated Sacramento Sunday 7-4, for the league title which the Storm Chasers won last year.
The best-of-five PCL Championship Series will begin Tuesday in Reno with right-hander Jake Odorizzi taking the mound against right-hander Trevor Bauer for the Aces. Game two will be Wednesday in Reno. The series shifts to Werner Park for game three Friday at 7:05 p.m. If necessary, game four will be played Saturday at 7:05 p.m. while game five would be Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
Max Ramirez knocked a two-run double in the first inning and Mitch Maier followed with an RBI single for a quick 3-0 lead. The Storm Chasers would double the lead an inning later as Jason Bourgeois tripled, Irving Falu walked and Anthony Seratelli got a run in on a sacrifice fly. Wil Myers followed with his second home run of the series to make it 6-0.
In the third, Adam Moore walked and scored on Bourgeois’ second triple of the game. With Falu at the plate, Tim Corcoran uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Bourgeois to score and put the visitors up 8-0. Mitch Maier’s two-run homer in the fourth made it a 10-0 game.
Josh Fields got the Isotopes on the board with a home run to lead off the fourth inning. Omaha got it right back in the fifth. Bourgeois singled and stole second. Falu walked and a wild pitch by Red Patterson sent Bourgeois to third. He would score on a Myers’ single and the Chasers led 11-1.
Albuquerque scored four times in the home fifth. Justin Marks hit Matt Angle with a pitch, then threw a wild pitch sending Angle to second. Josh Bard singled him home. After Tony Gwynn’s grounder advanced Bard to second, Elian Herrera walked and Dee Gordon reached on a force attempt throwing error by second baseman Rey Navarro to load the bases. Fields singled in two more runs.
Donnie Joseph (1-0) was brought in from the bullpen to replace Marks and whiffed Jerry Sands and Scott Van Slyke, but threw a wild pitch allowing Gordon to score. Joseph would strike out seven in just 2.2 innings of work.
Albuquerque finally kept the Storm Chasers off the scoreboard in the sixth, but they came back with two runs in the seventh to up their lead to 13-5. Falu singled and Seratelli walked. Myers popped out to second on the infield fly rule. Clint Robinson singled to load the bases and Ramirez walked. Maier followed with a sacrifice fly.
In the eighth, Seratelli’s RBI single made it 14-5. Myers and Clint Robinson followed with base hits to bring Seratelli around for a 15-5 lead. After the Isotopes got a run in the bottom of the eighth, Omaha added one more run in the ninth when Moore grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.
Sands’ RBI single in the last of the ninth closed out the scoring.