Papillion, Neb. - Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Gorkys Hernandez hit a go-ahead three-run homer to give the Omaha Storm Chasers a 7-6 win over the Oklahoma RedHawks to complete a three-game sweep in the American Conference Finals Friday night.
With the loss, the RedHawks season has come to an end. Although they led the PCL in wins during the regular season, they dropped all three games against the Storm Chasers, who will advance the league championship for the third straight season.
The RedHawks led with none on and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jason Stoffel then walked Paulo Orlando and Mitch Canham to continue the inning.
Hernandez then drove a 2-2 pitch out to deep left field to give Omaha its first lead of the game. The Omaha outfielder had only hit six homers all season, and Stoffel (0-1) had only allowed one home run throughout the season.
Walks would be a problem all night for the Oklahoma City pitching staff, who issued nine free passes throughout the game.
The RedHawks went down in order in the ninth inning against Maikel Cleto (1-0), who retired all six batters he faced Friday night.
At one point the RedHawks had leads of 5-0 and 6-2, but they did not hold up. They had only lost one game all season in which they led by at least five runs.
The RedHawks got on the board just three batters into the game. With a runner on and one out, George Springer hit a home run out to center field to give the RedHawks a 2-0 lead.
The team played some more longball in the third when Japhet Amador connected on a two-run homer onto the concourse in left-center field. Jimmy Paredes added a two-out RBI single later in the inning to give the RedHawks a 5-0 lead.
The Storm Chasers were able to answer with a run in the bottom of the inning. RedHawks pitcher Jake Buchanan walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out, but he held Omaha to just one run after Anthony Seratelli hit into a fielder's choice.
Omaha continued to chip away at the lead in the fourth. Lane Adams led off the inning with a triple, and Rey Navarro followed with an RBI groundout to make it 5-2.
The RedHawks were able to get the run back in the next inning. Making his first appearance in a RedHawks uniform, Eric Thames hits an opposite field, line drive home run out to left field to extend the lead to 6-2.
Oklahoma City had a chance to further the lead in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately they did not score after Amador hit into a double play, and Rene Garcia grounded out.
The missed opportunity would come back to hurt. Omaha scored twice in the bottom of the inning, first on an RBI double by Navarro and then again on a two-out, two-strike wild pitch by Rhiner Cruz to make it 6-4.
Although the RedHawks outhit the Storm Chasers 15-7, it wasn't enough. They went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
The RedHawks players, coaches, and staff appreciate all the support from the fans throughout the season as they captured their seventh PCL division title. Keep visiting okcredhawks.com for future information on the RedHawks 2014 season and other events at Chicasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.