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Pair of Grand Slams Lead Chasers to Saturday Night Win over I-Cubs

September 19, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Omaha Storm Chasers News Release

PAPILLION, Neb. - The Omaha Storm Chasers hit four home runs-including two grand slams-to defeat the Iowa Cubs, 14-3, on Saturday at Werner Park, to win their first game of the series and snap a four-game losing streak.

The grand slams came in back-to-back innings. Leading, 5-3, in the bottom of the seventh, right fielder Angelo Castellano launched a grand slam to left field to put Omaha (65-54) up by six. Centerfielder Erick Mejia followed with a solo home run three pitches later to extend the lead to 10-3. It was the 11th time this season the Storm Chasers have hit back-to-back home runs.

Catcher MJ Melendez capped the 14-run, 13-hit output with a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth, blasting a 1-2 pitch from left-hander Bryan Hudson to right-center. It was Melendez' 10th home run at the Triple-A level and Minor League-leading 38th homer of the season.

The Storm Chasers hit multiple grand slams in a game for the first time since July 31, 2019, when Mejia and Jorge Bonifacio each hit a grand slam in a 14-11 win at Tacoma. The team's four home runs in the game marked the sixth time this season Omaha has hit four home runs in a game and the 56th time the team has hit at least two home runs in a game. The Storm Chasers have hit multiple home runs in four straight games.

Omaha scored first in the game, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning. After left-hander Luis Lugo (Loss, 1-4) loaded the bases with three straight walks to begin the inning, third baseman Emmanuel Rivera hit into a double play that plated second baseman Lucius Fox from third.

Iowa (50-69) tied the game with a run against left-hander Jake Kalish (Win, 3-5) in the top of the second inning when Levi Jordan lined a two-out, RBI triple to left-center field.

The Storm Chasers took the lead for good with two runs in the second. After left fielder Dairon Blanco doubled to start the inning, he moved to third on a groundout before scoring on an infield single by Fox. Next, shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. smacked an RBI double down the left-field line for his Minor League-leading 70th extra-base hit of the season.

The I-Cubs scored another run in the fourth. Taylor Gushue drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a bunt single and throwing error before scoring on a sacrifice fly. Iowa nearly scored again the fifth, but Castellano-who made his first career start in right field-threw Abiatal Avelino out at the plate trying to score the tying run.

Kalish completed at least 6.0 innings for the second straight start and tossed his second straight quality start. He allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while tying a season high with seven strikeouts and walking two.

First baseman Nick Pratto drilled a milestone home run in the fifth, hitting a solo shot for the team's 200th home run of the season. Omaha's 203 home runs in 2021 mark the third time in the last 30 years that the franchise has hit at least 200 home runs in a single season (215 - 1998, 231 - 1999). The Storm Chasers lead Minor League Baseball with 203 home runs and are the only team to have hit at least 200 home runs.

Omaha's final run before the grand slam barrage in the seventh and eighth came in the sixth, when Blanco doubled, reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on a wild pitch.

Designated hitter Ryan McBroom reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with a double and two walks to extend his on-base streak to 24 games and record his team-leading 32nd multi-hit game of the season.

The Storm Chasers complete their six-game series with the Iowa Cubs on Sunday, when right-hander Ronald Bolaños (0-3, 6.26) starts for Omaha. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and coverage begins at 12:45 p.m. CT with the Sarpy County Tourism Pregame Show on 1180 The Zone.

Following the six-game series against Iowa, the Storm Chasers play their final five home games of the season against the Indianapolis Indians (PIT) from Sept. 22-26 as part of the Triple-A Final Stretch. A special ticket package for the Triple-A Final Stretch is available now. For tickets and more information, visit or call the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100 and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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