One night after a heartbreaking loss, the Oklahoma City RedHawks regrouped with a solid overall effort in a 5-2 win over the Omaha Storm Chasers before 8,041 Friday night at Werner Park.
The RedHawks (33-26) broke a scoreless tie in the third inning. Robbie Grossman doubled, and Jonathan Villar stepped up next with an RBI single to open the scoring.
Omaha outfielder Quintin Berry single-handedly tied the game in the bottom of the inning. He stole second and third base, and while stealing third, an error allowed him to score to make it 1-1.
The Storm Chasers (26-33) missed taking the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning by mere feet. With two on and two out, Chad Tracy sent a booming fly ball deep to left field, but the ball tailed just foul. After a discussion by the umpiring crew, the call stood, and a few pitches later, Tracy struck out to end the inning.
The RedHawks broke the tie with three runs in the sixth. Brandon Laird brought home the go-ahead run with an RBI double, and Carlos Perez and Andy Simunic each drew bases-loaded walks later during the rally.
Omaha threatened to tie the game, or cut into the lead at the very least, when the Storm Chasers loaded the bases with none out in the seventh. RedHawks reliever C.J. Fick then coaxed a pair of pop outs and a notched strike out to get out of the jam unscathed.
Villar hit a sac fly in the top of the eighth to make it 5-1, but the Storm Chasers responded with an RBI double by Irving Falu in the bottom of the inning. Falu finished 4-for-4, collecting over half of the team's seven hits.
Unlike Thursday's game, there was no late-inning drama Friday. Rhiner Cruz retired all four batters he faced to close out the win and earn his first save.
RedHawks starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer had a nice personal rebound after a rough outing in his previous start. Oberholtzer (4-4) allowed one run and three hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked three. Oberholtzer has now allowed four hits or less in five of his last six starts.
Omaha starting pitcher Justin Marks was having one of his best games of the season until running into trouble in the sixth. He had retired nine straight hitters before a Jake Elmore infield single ignited the rally.
Marks (1-5) was charged with three runs and six hits over 5.1 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
The RedHawks and Storm Chasers will continue their series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.