After the Omaha offense was completely shut down in Game 3 of the Pacific Coast League Finals on Friday night in their worst shutout loss of the 2013 season (and in their postseason history), the Storm Chasers broke out in a big way to win the PCL title over Salt Lake, 10-5. It is their second title in three seasons, despite a losing record in the regular season in 2013 (6-1 in the postseason).
The offense was alive in the very first inning, as they sent seven men to the plate. Rey Navarro picked up the team’s third hit and drove in the first run with a single. Brian Fletcher followed with an RBI single before Lane Adams drove in a run with a single (but Fletcher was thrown out at third base to end the inning).
Brian Sanches got the start and battled through five innings. He allowed two runs on nine hits and a walk. Those two runs (plus the walk) came in his final inning of work on a two-run home run. Eight of the nine hits he allowed were singles. Sanches in 2013 allowed two runs or less in 13 of his 15 starts for Omaha. He also improved to 2-0 in the postseason (he won Game of the PCL semifinals in a late spot start).
With the score 3-2, Omaha tacked on another run in the top of the sixth on another Fletcher RBI single. Then the 8th inning happened.
The Storm Chasers sent 11 men to the plate in scoring six runs off three Bees relievers (including two former big leaguers). Anthony Seratelli got the inning started with a single and he would come around to score on a Fletcher bases loaded walk. Seratelli would finish the inning’s scoring with a two out RBI single.
After the Fletcher bases loaded walk, Lane Adams greeted the Bees new reliever with a bases clearing triple (he drove in four runs on three hits). From what I heard on Twitter, it was originally ruled foul. Manny Pina followed with an RBI single before the Bees recorded the second out.
Salt Lake came back with two runs in the bottom of the eighth against Zach Jackson, who was in his third inning of work (2.2IP, 2H, 2R, BB, 2K). One of those runs scored after Buddy Baumann entered in relief (he walked the first batter he faced and allowed an RBI double). That brought in Michael Mariot, who struck out the final batter of the inning.
Mariot allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, but induced a ground out to set off the celebration.
Every Omaha hitter had at least two hits, except Christian Colon (0-for-5) and Paulo Orlando (1-for-5). As a team, they pounded out 19 hits. Ben Broussard, Navarro, Adams, and Pina all had three hits. Broussard hit .391 in the postseason, while Navarro hit .409. Fletcher went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to up his PCL Finals average to .385.
Omaha now heads to Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, for Tuesday’s Triple-A Championship. The game will be televised on NBC Sports at 7pm ET. The Storm Chasers will face the Durham Bulls, who won the International League title tonight. They will also face three former teammates, Jake Odorizzi (who may start the game), Mike Montgomery, and Jason Bourgeois.