Early Omaha offense proves too much for ‘Topes

Storm Chasers earn series split with 9-6 victory over Albuquerque

A pair of four-run outbursts in the second and third inning each helped propel the Omaha Storm Chasers to a 9-6 victory over the Isotopes on a clear, brisk Sunday at Isotopes Park.

The ‘Topes hit the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. With Dee Gordon on third after a leadoff single and two stolen bases, and Ivan DeJesus, Jr. on second after a walk and a steal of his own, Jamie Hoffmann hit a double down the left field line to bring both runners home and give Albuquerque a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the ‘Topes, the lead did not last. A leadoff double and two walks set the stage for Paulo Orlando’s two-run double to center field, tying the game. Next up was Irving Falu, who tripled to left-center field to get home two more runs for the Storm Chasers, who now led, 4-2.

After the ‘Topes went scoreless in their half of the second, the third inning wasn’t any better for their starting pitcher, Tim Redding. An RBI single from Manny Pina began another four-run inning for Omaha, which also featured a fielder’s choice by Gregor Blanco that brought home a run, an RBI single from Orlando, and then a sacrifice fly from Falu.

Redding took the loss, only going four innings and giving up nine runs (all earned) on eight hits while striking out five batters.

With Omaha now up 8-2, the ‘Topes tried to rally in their half of the third inning. Albuquerque got the bases loaded, and then Russ Mitchell drew a walk to allow Trent Oeltjen to score. Jerry Sands followed with a sacrifice fly that allowed John Lindsey to come home.

After a walk to Justin Sellers, the Storm Chasers handed the ball over to Luis Mendoza. J.D. Closser welcomed him into the contest by smacking a single to center field that drove in one run — but only one, as Mitchell was called out at home plate after attempting to knock the ball out of Pina’s glove in a collision. A ground out by Gordon ended the inning, but the ‘Topes had cut the deficit to 8-5.

But Omaha tacked on another run in the top of the fourth inning to push the gap to 9-5. The ‘Topes made it 9-6 in their half of the fifth with a solo homer from Sands, but that would prove to be the end of the day’s scoring.

Storm Chasers reliever Steven Shell wound up taking the win. He gave up one run (earned) on two hits over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

For a more detailed recap of today’s game, please visit AlbuquerqueBaseball.com later tonight.

— Chris Estrada

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