Omaha designated hitter Elier Hernandez collected four hits and drove in six runs, with all six RBI coming as part of the Storm Chasers’ 12-run second-inning offensive explosion, resulting in a 14-3 series-ending rout of the Memphis Redbirds on Monday afternoon at AutoZone Park.
Hernandez (4-5, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI) began the scoring spurt with a two-run single to left prior to bashing a grand slam later in the inning, placing him one RBI shy of matching the Pacific Coast League record for runs driven in in one inning. The 12-run second frame was Omaha’s single-highest scoring output in an inning since 1999, when the Omaha Golden Spikes plated 12 tallies as part of a 13-11 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
In addition to Hernandez’s heroics, 1B Kelvin Gutierrez , LF Jorge Bonifacio , CF Bubba Starling and RF Brett Phillips each drew bases-loaded walks in the second inning. 2B Jecksson Flores added a sacrifice fly, while C Nick Dini capped the big inning with a solo homer to left, his first longball of 2019. Dini drove in his second run of the contest with a run-scoring single in the sixth, with 3B Erick Mejia putting an exclamation mark on the afternoon courtesy of a solo blast in the eighth.
Dini (3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI), Starling (3-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Gutierrez (3-4, R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB), and Mejia (2-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB) joined Hernandez in adding multi-hit efforts of their own. Gutierrez has gotten off to a hot start in 2019, recordng at least one hit in each of his first five career Triple-A contests with the Storm Chasers to post a .474 batting average (9-19). SS Humberto Arteagaadded a single in the seventh inning to extend his hit streak to 13 games dating back to 2018.
Omaha starter Scott Blewett (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB, 4 K) earned the victory in his Triple-A debut, while Memphis starter Mike Hauschild (1.2 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 4 BB) suffered the defeat. Storm Chasers relievers Richard Lovelady (1.0 IP, H, K), Zach Lovvorn (2.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 2 K) and Michael Ynoa (1.0 IP, BB, 2 K) finished the job in support of Blewett.
Omaha returns to Werner Park to begin a seven-game homestand on Tuesday, April 9, starting with a three-game series versus the Oklahoma City Dodgers. First pitch that evening is set for 6:35pm CT. RHP Heath Fillmyer (0-1, 13.50) is expected toe the rubber for the Storm Chasers, while the Dodgers have not yet announced their starter.