Omaha starter Jonathan Dziedzic was perfect through 5.1 innings and fired 6.2 hitless frames, with the Storm Chasers taking a no-hitter into the ninth, while SS Ramon Torres crushed a grand slam in a 7-0 one-hit shutout of the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Sunday afternoon at Werner Park.
Dziedzic (6.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) set down his first 16 batters faced until Baby Cakes CF Isaac Galloway reached on an error. SS Ryan Jackson then became the only other New Orleans (4-7) batter to reach base versus the southpaw via a one-out bases on balls. After reaching 100 pitches with two outs in the seventh, Dziedzic gave way to reliever Bobby Parnell (1.1 IP, 2 K), who went on to set down the next four in order.
Jackson, however, would lead off the ninth with a groundball base hit that snuck just inside the first base bag into right field to crush Omaha's (5-5) no-hit dreams, though lefty Matt Strahm (1.0 IP, H, K) would preserve the shutout.
The last time the Omaha franchise had recorded a no-hitter was almost exactly 20 years ago to the day of today's contest, when Jim Converse and Allen McDill combined for a nine-inning no-hitter against Oklahoma City on April 17, 1997. Sunday's outing also marked the second one-hit shutout of the current homestand at Werner Park after three Storm Chasers pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Round Rock on April 13, game both Parnell and Strahm also appeared in.
The Storm Chasers on Sunday roared ahead of the Baby Cakes courtesy of a five-run second. After the first tally came across via a New Orleans error, Torres clubbed a grand slam down the left field line, his third longball of the year, to push Omaha up 5-0. RF Jorge Bonifacio capped the scoring with a two-run blast to left-center, his third roundtripper of 2017.
Storm Chasers 2B Whit Merrifield (3-4, R, 2B) recorded a game-high three hits in the contest, and was the only batter from either side with two or more knocks. He has now tallied a hit in six of his nine games played with Omaha this season, including five multi-hit efforts. New Orleans LHP Justin Nicolino (4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K), meanwhile, suffered the defeat to drop to 0-1 on the year.
The two teams are set to face off in a Monday matinee to complete their three-game set, with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch time set. The Storm Chasers are expected to send LHP Eric Skoglund (1-0, 0.00) to the hill, with New Orleans anticipated to counter with RHP Stephen Fife (0-0, 9.00).
Tickets are still available for that game and all remaining Storm Chasers contests, and may be purchased at www.omahastormchasers.com/tickets, as well as by calling the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100. To view Ticket Office hours, please click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.