Reno, NV - Anthony Seratelli, Max Ramirez and Mitch Maier all hit home runs in a five-run fifth inning outburst to power Omaha to a critical 9-6 victory over Reno Wednesday night in Game 2 of Pacific Coast League Championship Series at Aces Ballpark. The Storm Chasers received six strong innings from Ryan Verdugo in squaring the series at a game apiece as the scene shifts to Werner Park for Game 3 on Friday night and Game 4 on Saturday night.
The Storm Chasers bounced back from Tuesday's lopsided loss to post a run in the first inning when Seratelli reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to third base on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on a Wil Myers base hit, making it all seven playoff games in which they have tallied first.
After not being able to take full advantage of five walks by Trevor Bauer in the first two innings in Game 1, Omaha cashed in on a pair of free passes in the second inning against Daniel Cabrera, the former Baltimore Orioles right-hander. Maier drew a lead off walk, moved to second base when Rey Navarro walked and scored on a two-out hit by Irving Falu to make it 2-0. Reno got one back in the home half on an RBI hit by Tyler Bortnick but was thwarted in an attempt to tie the game in the third when Maier threw out A.J. Pollock at the plate after he tagged and tried to score on a shallow fly ball to right field.
The Chasers, who gave up three long balls in the fourth inning of Tuesday's game, flipped the script and put together a power surge of their own to take control of the game. Seratelli belted a two-run shot, his first hit in the series, to increase the lead to 4-1. Myers followed with a single to chase Cabrera from the hill, after he had allowed six hits, walked three and fanned two over 4 1/3 innings. Omaha native Zach Kroenke took over and got one out before Ramirez launched another two-run homer and Maier went back-to-back to make it a six-run spread.
Reno responded with four in the home half on a Pollock sacrifice fly and a three-run clout by Mike Jacobs, who hit the tie-breaking homer in Game 5 of the Pacific Conference Championship Series. The Storm Chasers got half of those runs back in the seventh on a clutch, two-out, two-run single by Adam Moore that stretched the lead to 9-5.
Verdugo was lifted after he allowed five runs on eight hits while walking one and fanning six and followed by Donnie Joseph, who worked around two walks and a single, with the aid of double play ground ball, to work a scoreless seventh. Juan Gutierrez assumed the hill in the eighth and yielded a run-scoring hit to Bortnick that closed the gap to three before recording a pair of strikeouts to end the frame. Roman Colon came on in the ninth and retired the side in order to sew up the victory and send the Storm Chasers home for the final time this season.
Omaha right-hander Nate Adcock take the mound in Game 3 against Reno right-hander Joe Martinez. Coverage of the game gets underway at 6:45 pm Friday evening and can be heard locally on 1180 Zone Two, The Deuce and online at omahastormchasers.com.