Fresno infielders Wilmer Difo , Carter Kieboom and Jake Noll each homered and combined to drive in all eight Grizzlies as starting pitcher Paolo Espino tossed a quality start in an 8-1 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers on Sunday evening at Chukchansi Park.
Difo went deep with a two-run shot in the first as part of a three-run first frame. Kieboom would then bash a three-run homer in the very next frame to increase the early advantage to six. Omaha 3B Kelvin Gutierrez ended Fresno’s shutout hopes with a two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to five, however, Noll blasted his two-run homer in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Grizzlies LF Yadiel Hernandez (3-5, R, 2B) recorded a game-high three knocks, while Difo (2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI), CF Andrew Stevenson (2-5, 2 R) and 2B Matt Reynolds (2-3, 2B, BB) each posted multi-hit efforts as well. Storm Chasers SS Jecksson Flores (2-2, R) tallied two of his club’s five knocks. Gutierrez’s RBI hit extended his on-base streak with Omaha to 25, and has tallied a knock in all but six of those matchups. Flores, meanwhile, upped his hit streak to ten contests.
Espino (6.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 5 K) earned his seventh win of the year with a quality outing, yielding a lone earned run on just three hits in six innings pitched. Fresno relievers James Bourque (1.0 IP, K), Michael Blazek (1.0 IP, 2 H) and Derek Self (1.0 IP, BB) joined forces for the final three scoreless frames. Storm Chasers starter Scott Blewett (3.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) suffered the defeat.
With the series even, Fresno and Omaha are set to continue their four-game set on Monday night, with first pitch scheduled for 9:05pm CT. RHP Josh Staumont (0-3, 2.34) is set to start for the Storm Chasers, with RHP Joe Ross (1-0, 3.75) anticipated to get the nod for the Grizzlies.
Following their seven-game West Coast road trip, the Storm Chasers return to Werner Park on Thursday, June 20 to start a four-game homestand versus the San Antonio Missions. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05pm CT.