Omaha opens PCL Championship series with win over Reno

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Omaha scored three runs in the top of the first and never looked back in beating Reno, 6-2 in the first game of the Pacific Coast League best-of-five championship series.

Whit Merrifield led of the game with a bunt single, as the Storm Chasers sent eight men to the plate in the first. Cheslor Cuthbert had the big hit: a two-run single with two outs that chased Reno starter Clayton Richard from the game. Omaha would also send eight men to the plate in the second in scoring three more runs.

Royals minor league third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert on the backfields during 2014 spring training (Jen Nevius).

That was enough for Storm Chasers starter Aaron Brooks. He did not allow a hit until Danny Dorn singled to lead off the fifth. Brooks ran into trouble in the sixth, when he walked the leadoff hitter. Two batters later, Andy Marte hit a two-run home run to get the Aces on the scoreboard.

In seven innings, he allowed those two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. Brooks threw 71 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Paulo Orlando helped Brooks out in the seventh, when he threw a runner out to end the inning when he tried to stretch a single into a double. Orlando also went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored, an RBI, and a stolen base.

Kyle Zimmer followed Brooks and threw a perfect 8th inning. Lefty Tim Collins faced the heart of the Aces order and struck out two of the three batters he faced to close out the win.

The Storm Chasers collected 11 hits, two each by Merrifield, Pedro Ciriaco, Orlando, Brett Hayes, and Cuthbert. Hayes and Cuthbert each drove in two runs in the win.

The PCL Championship Series continues on Wednesday night in Reno, as John Lamb is scheduled to get the start for the Storm Chasers. Bradin Hagens, who pitched a complete game against Omaha back on August 25th, is the scheduled starter for the Aces.

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