Storm Chasers first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert smashed his first home run of the season and left fielder Elier Hernandez drove in two runs, while five Omaha pitchers combined for a 4-0 shutout victory over the Oklahoma City Dodgers in the 2019 home opener on Tuesday evening at Werner Park.
Omaha starter Jonathan Dziedzic (5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and his adversary Rob Zastryzny (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K) matched each other over the first five innings, before before the Dodgers blinked first. Storm Chasers SS Nicky Lopez smashed a ground-rule double to left-center in the sixth, then stole third and came home on a wild pitch to put Omaha ahead 1-0.
Cuthbert crushed his first big fly of the year, a solo shot, in the eighth prior to two runs coming across on Hernandez’s run-scoring infield single. With runners at second and third, Hernandez beat the throw to first to bring home the first run, however RF Brett Phillips also never stopped running from second base and was able to slide in safely ahead of the tag to increase the advantage to four.
Lopez was the lone Omaha batter to record a multi-hit effort, while 3B Kelvin Gutierrez collected another hit and has now recorded a knock in each of his first six games. Gutierrez and Hernandez have combined for a .380 average (18-40) with seven runs, one double, two homers and 14 RBI thus far in 2019.
Dziedzic did not receive a final decision, with the relief corps of Kevin Lenik (0.2 IP, H, 2 K), Kyle Zimmer (1.0 IP, 3 BB, 2 K), Michael Ynoa (1.0 IP, H, K) and Jake Newberry (1.0 IP, 2 K) joining forces for the final 3.2 frames. Lenik earned his first victory of the year, while Oklahoma City reliever Justin Grimm (1.1 IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB, 3 K) suffered the defeat.
The Storm Chasers and Dodgers are set to face off in the second game of their three-game set on Wednesday evening at 6:35pm. Omaha is expected to give the nod to RHP Arnaldo Hernandez (0-0, 2.25), while Oklahoma City’s starter has not been announced.