The Albuquerque Isotopes (80-64, 2-3) couldn't keep the opposition off the board, allowing 11 runs through the first five frames en route to a season-ending 16-7 loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers (83-61, 3-2) Sunday afternoon at Isotopes Park. With the defeat, the 'Topes' 2012 season is now over after being eliminated in the best-of-five American Conference Championship Series, while the Chasers will advance to the Pacific Coast League Championship beginning September 11 against the Reno Aces.
Omaha kept its offensive trend going in the opening frame, scoring first for the fifth consecutive contest against the Isotopes when Irving Falu reached on a free pass, stole second, and following a walk to Clint Robinson, crossed home on a two-run double from Isotopes Killer Max Ramirez, quickly putting the Chasers up 2-0. Mitch Maier then slapped a run-scoring single to right-center that plated Ramirez and widened the advantage 3-0.
The Storm Chasers continued their scoring streak with three runs in the second, including two on a two-run homer from Wil Myers, a pair of tallies in the third and two more in the fourth on a two-run shot from Mitch Maier, cruising to an 10-0 lead in the fourth. Albuquerque finally plated a run the bottom half of the frame, courtesy of a solo shot from Josh Fields to bring the home team within 10-1. Fields finished the afternoon going 2-for-5 with three RBI.
The very next inning, Omaha nullified the 'Topes' tally with an RBI single from Myers that made it 11-1, before the Isotopes showed a hint of last night's rally with a four-run fifth. Matt Angle got things going when he was plunked by a pitch from Chasers starter Justin Marks, advanced to second on a wild pitch and came sprinting home on a base knock from Josh Bard, cutting the lead 11-2. Elian Herrera then coaxed a walk and Dee Gordon reached safely as second baseman Rey Navarro sent an errant throw sailing into the outfield on an attempted double play. With the bases loaded and one out, Fields cashed in two runners with a single to left, and following a Storm Chasers pitching change, reliever Donnie Joseph unleashed a wild pitch that sent Gordon sprinting home to bring Albuquerque within 11-4.
In the end, the rally would prove no match for Omaha's potent offense which added a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth, while also matching a run-scoring groundout from Angle with a tally of its own in the ninth to maintain a 16-6 lead into the bottom of the final frame. Herrera led off the inning with a single and scored three batters later on a base knock from Sands, making the score 16-7. Storm Chasers reliever Juan Gutierrez then settled down to finish off the Isotopes' season with a flyout, sending the Chasers to a 16-7 triumph.
While the 2012 campaign has come to an end, it's never too early to purchase tickets for the 2013 campaign! Tickets for any Isotopes game may be purchased at the Isotopes Park Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at www.abqisotopes.com or www.ticketmaster.com.