Memphis first baseman John Nogowski clubbed a home run and drove in three runs, while Omaha first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert extended his hit streak to 14 and catcher Nick Dini homered as the Redbirds topped the Storm Chasers 7-5 in front of 6,040 fans on Omaha Potholes Night on Wednesday evening at Werner Park.
The viral April Fools’ prank finally became a reality on Wednesday, with Omaha Potholes batting practice tops worn by Storm Chasers players pre-game and then auctioned off during the game, with proceeds going to Chasers Charities to repair local little league fields with City of Bellevue Recreation and DC West Youth Sports damaged by historic floods. A final tally of the funds raised will be released in the future.
Cuthbert wasted no time extending the longest active hit streak in professional baseball to 14 with an RBI double to left-center in the opening frame, giving Omaha a 1-0 lead. Memphis, however, struck back with a three-run third highlighted by Nogowski’s two-run shot to go ahead 3-1. Cuthbert narrowed the deficit to one via a sacrifice fly to center for his second RBI of the evening.
Following a Redbirds single tally, Dini drove a two-run homer to left-center, his second of the season, to even the tally at 4-4. Memphis, however, came right back with a score in the top of the fifth, followed by a two-run seventh that propelled them to victory. Storm Chasers SS Erick Mejia slapped a run-scoring single to left as part of a ninth-inning comeback effort, yet Omaha was not able to bring across any more scores.
Mejia (2-5, 2 R, RBI) was the lone Storm Chasers batter to post a multi-hit effort. Joining Nogowski in collecting two hits was C Andrew Knizner (2-4, R, RBI, BB) and SS Edmundo Sosa (2-4, RBI). Over his 14-game hit streak, Cuthbert owns a .364 average (20-55) with five runs, six doubles, three homers and 12 RBI.
Redbirds starter Harold Arauz (6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) earned the win to improve, with Tommy Layne (1.0 IP) receiving the hold and Chris Ellis (2.0 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 4 K) notching the save. Reliever Brian Flynn (2.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB) suffered the defeat in his first appearance with Omaha on a Major League Rehab Assignment.
The two teams are set to continue their five-game series on Thursday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm Ct. The Storm Chasers are anticipated to give the nod to LHP Foster Griffin (1-1, 5.02), while Memphis is slated to send RHP Alex Reyes (1-0, 0.00) to the hill.