Storm Chasers shortstop Nicky Lopez posted his third consecutive three-hit effort and left fielder Elier Hernandez homered while driving in three runs as Omaha topped the Oklahoma City Dodgers 8-5 on Wednesday evening at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Following 1B Frank Schwindel ‘s sacrifice fly in the top of the first, Oklahoma City answered right back with a trio of tallies in the bottom of the opening frame, highlighted by C Will Smith ‘s RBI single. Lopez narrowed the deficit to one with a run-scoring double to left in the third prior to Hernandez’s go-ahead two-run shot in the fourth, which put Omaha ahead 4-3.
DH Cheslor Cuthbert would follow in the fifth with a two-run blast of his own, his team-leading third longball of 2019 and second in as many games, to extend the advantage to 6-3. C Nick Dini then clubbed his third knock of the game, an RBI double to left, to increase the Storm Chasers’ lead to four.
Lopez (3-5, R, 2B, 3B, RBI) upped his hit streak to seven contests with his third straight three-hit effort. He has recorded two or more knocks in five of those seven games, batting .500 (15-30) with nine runs, three doubles, one triple, two homers and five RBI. Dini (3-4, R, RBI) joined Lopez in posting a three-hit game, with Hernandez (2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI) adding two knocks of his own. Dodgers CF Drew Jackson (3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB) and LF Connor Joe (3-4, RBI) each tallied three hits apiece as well.
Omaha righty Kevin Lenik (2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K) earned the win with 2.1 shutout frames, while fellow relievers Andres Machado (1.2 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, K), Tim Hill (2.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 2 K) and Kevin McCarthy(0.2 IP, H, 2 BB, K) joined forces for the final 4.2 innings of support. Oklahoma City righty Daniel Corcino (5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) suffered the loss.
The Storm Chasers and Dodgers are set to complete their series with a Thursday evening rubber match. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm CT. LHP Foster Griffin (0-1, 5.00) is expected to toe the rubber for Omaha, with RHP Dennis Santana (NR) slated to start for Oklahoma City.