Chasers lose, but Frank Schwindel continues hot streak at the plate

When Frank Schwindel gets rolling at the plate, its seems nothing can slow him down.

The Omaha first baseman collected three more hits Monday in a 10-5 loss to Oklahoma City at Werner Park, extending his hitting streak to 20 games with a fourth-inning double that broke up a no-hitter.

Schwindel is batting .388 (33 for 85) through this stretch that began on July 22. The right-handed slugger from St. John’s had an 18-game hit streak last July that helped earn him team player-of-the-year honors.

“I’d seen him do it all last year. It’s not surprising,” Storm Chaser manager Brian Poldberg said. “He’s got the mentality of a hitter. He goes up there and doesn’t let one bad swing lead to a bad at-bat. He’s going to get his swings in. If he gets pitches around the strike zone, he’s going to have a chance to hit them.”

Schwindel roped a ball to third base in his first at-bat that Dodger infielder Edwin Rios booted then threw away in a rare double-error that allowed the batter to reach second. That was Omaha’s only hitter to reach against Oklahoma City starter Zach Neal until Schwindel came to the plate again in the fourth.

He lined a one-out double to left field that opened the door for the Chasers offense. Cam Gallagher, Elier Hernandez and Donnie Dewees all followed with RBI doubles as Omaha wiped out a 4-0 deficit.

“We’ve been grinding all year. We need some innings like that,” Schwindel said. “We were down early, but we’ve got a lot of talent in the room. Once one guy breaks up the no-hitter, then we know we can start rolling at any time. It’s just a bunch of guys pulling the same rope and trying to finish the season out strong.”

The Chasers began the night only eight games behind the first-place Dodgers in the PCL’s American North. Oklahoma City extended its division lead over them, however, by pulling away near the end.

Omaha reliever Josh Staumont, who suffered the loss, hit a batter and threw four wild pitches in a two-inning span as the Dodgers moved in front 6-5. Oklahoma City then tagged Pedro Hernandez, in his first Chasers outing this season, for four ninth-inning runs after he surrendered a two-out walk with none on.

“We got back in it, then Josh struggled a little bit with his command,” Poldberg said. “He didn’t get hit, but wild pitches caught up with us and we just couldn’t hang on in the ninth. Two outs and nobody on, a two-out walk always seems to come back and haunt you. It ended up being good for four.”

Former Creighton star Jake Peter drove in a run for the Dodgers in the second with a single and was hit by a Staumont pitch, which led to a run, in the seventh. He and one-time Bluejay teammate Nicky Lopez, Omaha’s shortstop, got caught up a bit in center field before the game. Lopez finished the game 1 for 4.

Schwindel had two doubles and a single while raising his batting average to .286 in the first of seven games between the divisional foes in the next two weeks. He said the Chasers won’t back down at all.

“We’re going to play until the end,” he said. “We’re not out of the playoffs so anything could happen. We’re just going to try to play as best we can — play some good defense and put some good at-bats together. We’re just going to keep fighting. That’s what the main group of guys in here do. We’re not going to give up.”

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