Locked in a tie game in a steady rain, Omaha and Salt Lake were scrapping for the go-ahead run.
There were storms in the forecast all night. And after the teams sat through a 70-minute weather delay before Monday’s contest at Werner Park got going, the chances of reaching the official-game point were iffy.
So in the fourth inning, both teams played small ball, seeking to take the lead before the rain picked up.
“It’s like every inning is the ninth inning,” Storm Chasers manager Brian Poldberg said. “You’re trying to get the lead. And you don’t know what the weather is going to do so you can’t give up any runs.”
Omaha manufactured a run in the bottom of fourth, then held on for a 5-4 win after starter Trevor Oaks escaped trouble in the fifth to allow the game to reach its official point. Rain ended it later that inning.
Humberto Arteaga’s RBI single scored Elier Hernandez from second to break the 4-4 tie. Hernandez singled to lead off the inning. Then Donnie Dewees bunted him over to second to set up Arteaga’s hit.
The Bees put their leadoff batter on in the fifth and had him in scoring position with one out when Oaks got slugger Jabari Blash to pop out on the infield. The Chasers then intentionally walked former big-leaguer Dustin Ackley to get to Joe Hudson. Oaks induced a ground ball that led to a force out at second.
“Oaks got the big out,” Poldberg said. “They had the tying run at second, and we walked the left-hander to get to the right-hander. He got it done. And then the rain came. It worked out.”
Omaha had two players bat in the fifth before the rain picked up and forced play to stop. Frank Schwindel singled in the game’s final at-bat, recording his second hit of the night while extending his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest stretch for any Chaser this year. He’s batting .410 since it began.
Paulo Orlando gave Omaha an early lead with an RBI groundout in the first. But the Bees responded by scoring three runs against Oaks, who moved to 8-5 on the year with an abbreviated complete-game win.
Jack Lopez put the Chasers back in front, however, by crushing a 419-foot, three-run homer off Salt Lake starter Osmer Morales in the second. The Bees evened it up in the third on a Taylor Ward RBI double.
With the rain coming down at that point, a suspended game appeared to be a distinct possibility.
“You’re hoping for quick innings, and we didn’t have them either,” Poldberg said. “It worked out. We got down, but got the big three-run homer by Jack. Then they go back out and score to tie it up.”
The Bees turned to reliever Tyler Stevens in the fourth, and Hernandez greeted him with a single to right field. After the sacrifice by Dewees, Arteaga laced a single up the middle to bring home the winning run.