COLUMBUS, OHIO – With the 2023 Omaha Storm Chasers season down to the final strike, catcher José Briceño connected on a go-ahead two-run homer, his fourth go-ahead homer and fifth straight game with a long ball as the Storm Chasers came from behind to beat the Columbus Clippers 3-2 to
COLUMBUS, OHIO – With the 2023 Omaha Storm Chasers season down to the final strike, catcher José Briceño connected on a go-ahead two-run homer, his fourth go-ahead homer and fifth straight game with a long ball as the Storm Chasers came from behind to beat the Columbus Clippers 3-2 to end the season.
Omaha and Columbus breezed through the first eight innings and the two clubs combined for just five hits.
The Clippers opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, as Brayan Rocchio connected for a two-run homer off starter Andrew Hoffmann. After that home run, Omaha pitchers combined to hold Columbus hitless and scoreless the rest of the way, with just five walks over the final 6.1 innings of the game.
Omaha countered with a run in the top of the fourth inning, when Tyler Gentry reached on an error and John Rave doubled him in to bring the Chasers within a run.
With Samad Taylor’s leadoff single in the top of the first, Rave’s double was Omaha’s second hit of two hits through the first eight innings.
After Rave’s double in the fourth, neither team recorded a hit through the end of the eighth inning. Columbus used a different pitcher in each inning, with nine pitchers throwing one frame each. Hoffmann worked through five frames for Omaha, then handed the ball off to Christian Chamberlain, who threw two scoreless frames and worked into the eighth inning.
After walking the leadoff batter, Chamberlain was relieved in favor of Jonah Dipoto, who got a strikeout in a scoreless inning that featured Briceño throwing out a baserunner to erase the leadoff walk.
Down by a run entering the ninth, Devin Mann doubled on the first pitch of the top of the ninth inning but the next two Omaha hitters were put away to bring Briceño to the plate with one out left in the season. The catcher quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, but send a changeup below the zone 421 feet to left field, a two-run homer to put Omaha up 3-2.
The long ball was Briceño’s ninth long ball of the season and his fifth straight game with a home run. Four of those five came this week against the Clippers, all go-ahead home runs. He homered in his final five games of the season, the first Omaha player to hit a home run in five straight games since Cory Aldridge did so from July 27 to August 8, 2009.
Taylor Hearn walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the ninth, but with the potential winning run at the plate, struck out his final three batters of the game to secure his second save of the year and help end the season with a win.
With the 2023 season concluded, Omaha finished 68-77, 30-42 in the second half. The Storm Chasers open the 2024 season on March 29 at Werner Park against the Iowa Cubs.