Omaha designated hitter Jorge Bonifacio and second baseman Erick Mejia each mashed grand slams, combining to drive in eleven of the Storm Chasers’ fourteen runs, in a 14-11 slugfest victory over the Tacoma Rainiers on Wednesday evening at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington.
After the two squads combined for six runs over the first two innings, with Omaha holding a 4-2 lead heading into the third, both teams broke out and struck for a total of 12 tallies in the third inning alone. Mejia contributed to the Storm Chasers’ five-run frame with his grand slam, while Tacoma countered with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the third to even the contest at 9-9.
Bonifacio would break the draw in the fifth with his slam to give Omaha a lead they would not relinquish. Bonifacio gave the Storm Chasers the early 1-0 advantage courtesy of an RBI single in the opening frame before lofting a sacrifice fly one frame later as part of a three-run second that saw Mejia drive in his first score of the evening with a run-scoring single.
RF Brett Phillips (2-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI) joined Bonifacio (2-4, R, HR, 6 RBI) and Mejia (2-6, R, HR, 5 RBI) in recording two hits while driving in multiple runs, while CF Nick Heath (3-5, 4 R, 2B, BB), 1B Chase d’Arnaud (3-5, 2 R, 2B) and C Xavier Fernandez (3-4, 3 R, 2B, RBI) each tallied a trio of knocks. Tacoma LF Jake Fraley (3-5, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI), C Jordan Pacheco (2-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI) and 3B Daniel Castro (2-5, R, 2B) all collected multi-hit games as well.
Omaha reliever Andres Machado (3.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, K) earned the victory after yielding a lone earned run in three frames of support and lefty Gabe Speier (2.1 IP, BB, K) followed with two-plus shutout innings. Rainiers righty Andrew Moore (6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 K) suffered the defeat.
The two teams are set to finish off their three-game set with a rubber match this evening at Cheney Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 9:05pm CT.
Omaha returns home to Werner Park on Wednesday, August 7 to start a seven-game homestand. First pitch of the series opener versus the Salt Lake Bees is set for 7:05pm CT.