The Fresno Grizzlies (62-45) fell in extra innings to the Omaha Storm Chasers (49-57) Sunday evening at Chukchansi Park, as Omaha improved to 5-1 during their bi-yearly swing through Sacramento and Central California. Despite the setback, Fresno still commands the Pacific Northern Division by eight games with 33 to play in the regular season.
The 5-4 setback was the rare loss for the Grizzlies when scoring first (47-13) and scoring more than three runs (56-18). Fresno dropped to 4-5 in extra innings and 13-9 in one-run games at home this season.
A.J. Reed led off the home second with a double to the right field gap, and scored on a two-out RBI single by Jamie Ritchie (3-for-5) to stake the Grizzlies to an early 1-0 lead. It was 2-0 Fresno after Antonio Nunez (2-for-4) led off the third with a triple to the gap in right, scoring on a Jake Marisnick sac fly to the same field.
Omaha tied the game in the fifth, when Donnie Dewees sent his fourth homer of the season out to right field, a two-run shot with two out to make the score 2-2.
Fresno re-took the lead when Ritchie collected his second hit of the game, a gap double to left to lead off the fifth, later scoring on a Nunez RBI single for a 3-2 advantage. The game was tied again when the Storm Chasers loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but scored just once on a Humberto Arteaga fielder's choice.
It was a defined quality start for Omaha's Jake Kalish, as the southpaw allowed three earned runs on seven hits over six innings. He did not walk a batter, and struck out eight. Fresno's Trent Thornton went seven innings, scattering six hits, also allowing three earned. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one, and both starters took no-decisions.
Under international tiebreaker rules adopted by Minor League Baseball for extra innings (previous inning's last batter begins following inning at second base), Omaha took a 4-3 lead in the 10th on a Nicky Lopez triple into the right field corner, before Derek Fisher's liner into center tied the game once again. The Chasers struck the decisive blow in the 11th on a Ramon Torres sacrifice fly, without a response by the Grizzlies for a 5-4 final tally.
The series finale of the four-game set will be Monday night at Chukchansi Park, a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Probable starters are RHP Trevor Oaks (7-4, 2.05) for Omaha, against RHP Josh James (4-4, 3.18) for Fresno.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.