After cooling off during a 1-hour, 10-minute rain delay, the Omaha Storm Chasers’ bats heated up just enough to nab a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Las Vegas in front of a Werner Park crowd of 3,640 and salvage a split in the four-game series.
With the Storm Chasers trailing Las Vegas 3-2 in the sixth inning, Xavier Nady doubled in the tying run with two outs and then scored the winning run on an RBI single by Anthony Seratelli one batter later.
The Omaha bullpen wasn’t bad after the delay in the middle of the fifth either, as Brian Sanches and Michael Mariot combined to blank the 51s over the final four innings.
Sanches earned the win and Mariot pitched the final 1 2⁄3 innings without allowing a hit to get his fifth save of the season.
Omaha had clawed back from a 2-1 deficit to knot the game at 2-2 in the fourth when Max Ramirez hit his team-leading eighth homer of the year.
But Las Vegas answered as Wilmer Flores gave the 51s the lead back in the top of the fifth with a solo shot just before the rain and lightning sent fans scrambling for cover and the grounds crew rolling out the tarp.
Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said the delay made for a long day.
“It was a little down going into the rain delay after we gave up the home run,” Jirschele said. “But there was a long ways to go.
“I thought we did a good job of two-out hitting in the sixth to pick up the two runs.”
Sanches relieved Omaha starter Ryan Verdugo, who went five innings while allowing seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Sanches pitched 2 1⁄3 innings and struck out four before giving way to Mariot in the eighth.
Mariot didn’t allow a hitter to reach base the rest of the way.
Jirschele said he was pleased with Mariot’s effectiveness in closing the game.
“I thought his fastball had life on it,” Jirschele said, “and I thought his breaking ball was a good pitch that he threw for strikes.”
Las Vegas opened the scoring in the third inning on a leadoff double by Landon Powell and back-to-back singles by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Josh Satin to give the 51s a 1-0 lead.
A sacrifice fly by Andrew Brown that scored Nieuwenhuis made it 2-0 Las Vegas.
The Chasers countered with a leadoff double of their own in the bottom of the third by Brett Hayes off Las Vegas starter Chris Schwinden.
Paulo Orlando followed with an RBI single to right to score Hayes and cut the Vegas lead to 2-1.
The Chasers had a chance to pad their lead in the seventh following a pair of singles by Hayes and Irving Falu and an intentional walk to Christian Colon that loaded the bases with one out and Johnny Giavotella at the plate.
But Rodriguez was able to turn back the Omaha threat when he forced Giavotella into a sharp grounder to third that resulted in an inning-ending double play.
“Giavotella just got a little too big at that at-bat and ended up hitting into the double play,” Jirschele said. “He needs to stay to the middle of the field.
“But, you know, those things happen.”
The Storm Chasers had another rally in the eighth snuffed out by a Vegas reliever.
With Willy Taveras on second and Giavotella at first with one out, Dylan Owen was able to get Chad Tracy to pop up before striking out Hayes to get out of the jam.
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