Las Vegas (15-21) continued to struggle in the third game of their series against the Omaha Storm Chasers Saturday Night. Lefty reliever Josh Smoker was pressed into service as a starter and he did not disappoint.
Smoker breezed through four and two thirds innings surrendering only two hits and walking none. He struck out three. Desmond Jennings provided Vegas the lead with a home run to start the second. It was Jennings’ third home run in as many games.
Smoker did everything he could to preserve the thin margin. He was relieved with two outs in the fifth after throwing 61 pitches. Logan Taylor came in to get the last out of the inning. With a runner on second, Taylor walked the first two batters he faced before escaping the bases loaded situation with a strikeout. Taylor walked two more in the sixth. So Ben Rowan was the next in taking over for Taylor with two outs in the sixth and logging a hitless inning and a third.
The 51s offense failed to add to their 1-0 lead, and Omaha finally broke through against the bullpen scoring five runs in the eighth off Kevin McGowan and David Roseboom. Roseboom surrendered two more runs in the top of the ninth leaving a six-run deficit going into the bottom of the ninth.
Former Mets closer Bobby Parnell pitched the ninth for Omaha and allowed the 51s their first runs since the second inning. Vegas scored two with the help of an error allowing Jayce Boyd to reach. Phillip Evans and Xorge Carrillo followed with back to back singles. Then in a strange play, Gavin Cecchini hit a grounder to his brother Garin Cecchini who was knocked over by Evans on his way to third. Garin tagged Evans out before going to the ground with an injury. He ended up leaving the game. Brandon Nimmo walked and Amed Rosario grounded out to plate Carrillo with the 51s’ third run. But Parnell got Dominic Smith to fly out to end the game.
Josh Smoker‘s four and two thirds scoreless got the game off to a good start. Desmond Jennings was two for four including his fifth home run of the season, his third in three games. Xorge Carrillo was two for three with an RBI and a run scored.
Las Vegas will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday, sending Ricky Knapp to the mound. Knapp is 1-3 with a 5.31 ERA.