Whenever he got the chance, Nate Adcock got himself into the dugout bathroom.
“There's a little heater in there,” Adcock said. “I just tried to stay as warm as I could. If a guy had to use the bathroom, I had to step out.”
When he wasn't thawing out, Adcock was on the mound pitching five solid innings Friday night to help Omaha to a 6-5 victory against Nashville in front of a home opening-crowd of 3,985 at Werner Park.
The game-time temperature was 40 degrees, and the wind chill started at 32 and kept cooling off.
“That was probably one of the colder ones I've pitched in — just because of the wind,” Adcock said.
The first-place Storm Chasers scored five first-inning runs and survived four solo homers to improve to 5-4 while winning for the fifth time in six games.
“It's not fun playing in weather like that, win or lose,” Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. “When you've got guys running off the field to go stand by the heater … you know it's not a great night.”
But if you've got to play, you feel a lot warmer afterward if you won.
Christian Colon, Johnny Giavotella and Irving Falu each had two hits for Omaha. Giavotella's two-run bloop double put the Chasers ahead after Milwaukee prospect Hunter Morris hit the first of his two homers in the top of the first.
Heads-up base running by David Lough and Colon combined to put pressure on another top Brewers prospect, starter Johnny Hellweg, before Giavotella's double. Lough aggressively went from first to third on Colon's single to left, and when the throw went to third, Colon sped in to second behind him.
“I thought that was key, just to get things going,” Jirschele said.
Two Omaha runs were unearned, and the Sounds could have prevented another had they been able to turn a routine inning-ending double play behind Hellweg. second baseman Scooter Gennett dropped the relay throw on the frigid night.
But Hellweg (1-1) also got himself into trouble. The 6-foot-9 right-hander, acquired as part of the package from the Angels for Zack Greinke last July, walked three and had two wild pitches in the inning (and catcher Dayton Buller was charged with a passed ball). The Chasers scored five on two hits.
“I was happy with our hitters that inning,” Jirschele said. “We were patient, didn't chase a lot of pitches out of the zone. Hellweg got himself in trouble — and we didn't help him out.”
Hellweg eventually started zipping his fastball in the 97 mph range before his four-inning outing ended.
“It was a tough night to throw,” Jirschele said. “He's got great stuff, and you could just see he wasn't as free and easy as he usually is because of the cold.”
Meanwhile, Adcock (1-0) turned in a more efficient outing than his first start. After walking four in four innings in his season debut Sunday, the 25-year-old right-hander allowed two runs on three hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts in five innings.
“I hadn't thrown to hitters in about 10 days before my last outing,” Adcock said. “And since then L.C. (pitching coach Larry Carter) and I have worked on some things, just trying to drive the baseball. It's helped out a lot. I'm starting to feel some things.”
Adcock's strikeout total was his second-highest in 20 starts in an Omaha uniform. Relievers Francisley Bueno and Donnie Joseph combined for seven more strikeouts — Joseph fanned four in two innings to pick up his first save — to give the Chasers 14 for the night.
An Omaha staff that on paper doesn't appear to be stacked with flamethrowers entered the night second in the PCL in strikeouts.
“I think just attacking hitters has a lot to do with it,” Adcock said.
It's good policy. While the Sounds hit four homers — the last by Cole Garner with one out in the ninth — no one was on base for any of them. Nashville had two other hits and twice reached on walks.
“That's what you've got to do,” Jirschele said. “If you start walking guys and then giving up home runs, you're in trouble.”
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