Storm Chasers first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor capped a five-run ninth-inning rally with a bases-loaded walk-off double to center field as part of a three-hit night to lead Omaha to an 8-7 series-finale victory over the Round Rock Express on Thursday night at Werner Park.
Heading into the ninth trailing by four, the Storm Chasers (5-3) began to chip away thanks to pinch hitter Parker Morin's sacrifice fly and LF Jose Martinez's bases-loaded walk to send up Fuenmayor (3-5, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI). With a favorable 3-1 count, the right-handed slugger lifted a double that two-hopped to the bullpen wall in center field, scoring all three runners to cue the celebration. Fuenmayor has been red-hot at the plate over his last three games, recording seven hits over 12 at bats with five RBI.
Round Rock (5-3) had busted out for a five-run spurt of their own in the sixth inning, which put the Express ahead until the ninth. That frame included run-scoring singles from 2B Pedro Ciriaco (2-5, R, RBI) and SS Jurickson Profar (3-5, RBI), while RF Jared Hoying (2-4, 2 R, 2 3B, 2 RBI, BB) and CF James Jones (2-5, R, 3B, 2 RBI) each smacked RBI three-baggers as well.
All was quiet until the fifth, when Round Rock scored the game's first run. Omaha then countered with a single tally of their own to even the contest before the Express pumped out their big five-run sixth. The Storm Chasers, however, did get two scores back in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of 3B Cheslor Cuthbert's RBI triple and Martinez's run-scoring base knock.
2B Whit Merrifield extended his hit streak to eight games to begin the year, while Martinez has tallied at least one base knock in seven of his eight contests with Omaha. Dating back to July 16, 2015, Martinez has accrued a hit in 48 of his last 59 games in a Storm Chasers uniform.
Omaha southpaw Scott Alexander (2.0 IP, 4 H, R, ER, BB, 2 SO) earned his first victory of 2016 after firing the final two innings, while starter Luke Farrell (5.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, 5 SO) did not factor in the final decision despite five solid frames. Express starter Nick Tepesch (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 SO) also did not receive a decision, while relief man Chad Smith (1.2 IP, H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB) suffered the defeat to fall to 1-1.
The Storm Chasers next will hit the road for eight games, starting with a four-game road series against the New Orleans Zephyrs. Omaha is set to send LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (0-1, 0.00) to the hill on Friday evening, while the Zephyrs are anticipated to give the nod to RHP Kendry Flores (0-0, 2.45). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Omaha returns to Werner Park on Saturday, April 23 to begin an eight-game homestand that will feature the Colorado Sky Sox and Oklahoma City Dodgers.