The Omaha Storm Chasers scored a run in each of their final two at-bats to earn a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series against the Salt Lake Bees. The winner of Game 1 in the PCL Championship has gone on to win the title in the last ten seasons and 13 of the 14 years the Championship Series has been played since 1998.
The Storm Chasers trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, then Rey Navarro smacked a two-out single and was knocked in by a double down the line by Manny Pina to tie the game. In the next inning, Irving Falu led off the eighth with a single then was moved into scoring position by a sac bunt by Christian Colon, who led the PCL in that category this season. Ben Broussard provided the game-winning blow two batters later with a single to centerfield, and the veteran is tied with Gorkys Hernandez for the most RBI in the playoffs for Omaha at four.
Salt Lake took their 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a solo shot by Luis Rodriguez off right-hander Clay Mortensen, who replaced Chris Dwyer when the game resumed in the second inning, but that homer was the only hit the Chasers allowed in the final six innings of the game. Mortensen totaled eight strikeouts in his five innings of work, after the righty had not totaled more than five strikeouts in any game this season with Boston, Triple-A Pawtucket or Omaha.
The Bees only managed two walks in those final six innings of the game, and relievers Buddy Baumann and Michael Mariot tossed two perfect innings to finish off the Game 1 win. Mariot has now gone 25.0 innings without allowing an earned run over his last 16 appearances dating back to July 27. The Omaha bullpen has given up only one earned run in 18.2 innings in the 2013 playoffs.
Omaha has now won Game 1 in 12 of 21 playoff series in franchise history, and in the 11 previous series with a Game 1 win Omaha went on to win the series eight times. In Game 2 tonight, right-hander Yordano Ventura makes his first ever playoff appearance above Single-A and will face off with Salt Lake right-hander Tommy Hanson. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.