Omaha right fielder Bubba Starling slapped three hits, including a home run, and scored three runs, while seven different Storm Chasers batters drove in at least one run in the Storm Chasers’ 10-4 triumph over the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Friday night at the Shrine on Airline.
Omaha surged ahead with a six-run first inning that began with run-scoring doubles from 1B Frank Schwindel and RF Jorge Bonifacio . Starling later drove in a run with a single, followed by RBI knocks from SS Jecksson Flores and CF Erick Mejia .
Starling would then go deep in his next at-bat with a solo homer to right-center in the third frame after New Orleans narrow the deficit to 6-4. He later scored on DH Brett Phillips ‘ two-run blast to right in the fifth, which increased the advantage to 9-4. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez capped the scoring courtesy of an RBI single in the eighth.
All nine Omaha hitters collected a hit, with Bonifacio (2-5, R, 2B, RBI) joining Starling (3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) in posting a multi-hit effort. Baby Cakes DH Peter O’Brien (3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI) and CF Monte Harrison (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI) paced the home side with two or more knocks.
Starling in his 11 games with the Storm Chasers this year has compiled a .342 average (13-38) along with nine runs, two doubles, two homers and six RBI. In addition to Starling’s stellar hitting this year, 2B Nicky Lopez extended his hit streak to nine games with a single.
Omaha starter Ben Lively (5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) earned the win to improve to 2-1, with Kyle Zimmer (2.0 IP, H, 2 K) and Josh Staumont (2.0 IP, H, BB, 2 K) combining for the final four frames. New Orleans righty Nick Neidert (0.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB) suffered the loss.
The two teams are slated to face off in the second game of their four-game set on Saturday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 6:00pm CT. The Storm Chasers are anticipated to send RHP Scott Blewett (2-0, 5.40), with the Baby Cakes expected to give the ball to RHP Elieser Hernandez (0-0, 1.86).