It should be a beautiful day and evening in Oklahoma City, thank goodness, because tonight is the RedHawks Home Opener.
Opening Day at a baseball park is something special.
It's really not like the first home game of the football season, nor of basketball nor hockey either.
When your town's baseball team begins the season at home, or even begins the home portion of the schedule after opening on the road, it's sort of like everything begins anew.
For us here in Oklahoma City, the timing is about perfect. The Hawks have gotten off to a great start, 5-2 on their season opening road trip, so you get the feeling these guys could be pretty good this year.
And after a couple of days of winter weather at the beginning of spring, the sun came up this morning framed by blue skies and the temperature should rise to a much more spring-like 65 degrees or so. We can all come out of the house again and brave the outside world.
The Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is ready again, after having some off-season fixups to some stairways and other items. The recent rains and the constant attention of the groundskeepers have the diamond and its surrounding grass in great shape.
There are new food items on the menu and new beers to sample too. Plus plenty of the old favorites.
The RedHawks parent team, the Houston Astros, look to be terrible again and so the players we see here tonight at the ballpark may not be around very long, a couple of them Dallas Kuechel and Paul Clemens, may not be here at all since the Astros have already called them up.
But in Triple-A baseball players come and go and sometimes come back again. That's not really what matters. What matters is the experience, just going out to the ballpark on a fine evening with family and friends.
Smelling the scent of freshly mown grass and bratwursts on the grill. Hearing the sounds of a bat smacking a ball and the crowd roaring or of a ball slapping into leather and the umpire yelling, "steeerike!!"
So get out and enjoy it afterall Opening Night happens just once in a year's time and in Oklahoma City, tonight at 7:05 is that time.
Papillion, Neb. - The Oklahoma City RedHawks (58-40) mashed three more home runs and staved off a late rally by the Omaha Storm Chasers (58-41) to win 9-8 and complete a four-game sweep before 6,888 at Werner Park Thursday night.
With the win, the RedHawks became just the second team to sweep the Storm Chasers at Werner Park since it opened in 2011. The RedHawks have won five straight overall, as well as a season-best five straight on the road.
The RedHawks got started right away with two runs in the first. Brandon Barnes and Jimmy Paredes each singled to begin the contest, and each scored on an error and a double play, respectively.
Omaha took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Tony Abreu knocked an RBI double, and Clint Robinson followed with a two-run homer to make it 3-2.
Brad Snyder answered with a homer in the second to tie the game. Later in the frame, Paredes added a two-run shot to put the RedHawks in front at 5-3.
Travis Buck drove in runs in the third and fifth to extend the lead to four. Landon Powell homered to start the sixth, and Matt Dominguez added an RBI single in the seventh to make it a 9-3 game.
Omaha got back in it with a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh by Adam Moore.
The Storm Chasers would do everything they could to avoid the sweep, scoring three times in the ninth and putting the tying run on base. Moore lifted a sac fly to make it 9-6, and with two outs, Johnny Giavotellla hit a two-run homer to pull Omaha within one.
After Juan Abreu walked the tying run on base, he regrouped and got Robinson to pop out to end the game as Abreu claimed his fifth save.
The win secured a victory for Armando Galarraga, who pitched a season-high seven innings. He pitched better than his line would indicate, as he allowed five runs and six hits. Galarraga (3-2) walked one with six strikeouts.
Jake Odorizzi endured his first Triple-A loss, allowing a season-high seven runs and 10 hits over five innings. Odorizzi (6-1) walked and struck out one each.
The RedHawks continue their road trip at AutoZone Park in Memphis Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Live coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on AM 1340 The Game, 1340thegame.com, or through the free IHeartRadio mobile app.
- Alex Freedman
Oklahoma City, Okla. - The Oklahoma City RedHawks (37-23) made team history as they defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs (30-30) 9-5 Thursday night before 4,951 to set a new franchise record with 14 consecutive home wins in a single season.
The RedHawks broke the previous mark of 13 set from August 12-September 2, 1999. The win also tied the franchise mark for longest overall win streak at nine games.
Scott Moore led the offense, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs. He started the scoring with a solo home run the first inning.
Tied 1-1 in the third, Moore ripped an RBI double to put the RedHawks in the lead for good.
The RedHawks busted the game open with a seven-run, six-hit fourth inning. The RedHawks sent 12 batters to the plate before the rally ended, including a two-run single by Moore. Landon Powell, Jimmy Paredes, Mike Hessman, and Brad Snyder each drove in runs as well.
The Zephyrs shot back with three runs in the fifth to make it 9-4, but the RedHawks cruised the rest of the way. Chase Lambin hit a pinch-hit home run to start the ninth to finish the scoring.
Paul Clemens (7-4) earned his fifth win in his last six starts, allowing four runs and eight hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked three.
New Orleans pitcher J.D. Martin's road woes continued, as he was unable to survive the big fourth inning. Martin (3-5) allowed eight runs-six earned-and seven hits in 3.1 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
- Alex Freedman