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Seratelli's bat, arm help lift Chasers

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If you’re not pitching in a 1-0 game, you can’t do much more than what Anthony Seratelli did.

The Omaha right fielder hit a first-inning homer for the game’s only run and threw out a runner at the plate in the fifth to defuse Fresno’s best scoring chance, leading the Storm Chasers to a tenuous 1-0 victory Wednesday before 4,201 at Werner Park.

“Seratelli took the show today,” Omaha pitcher Yordano Ventura said, through interpreter Christian Colon. “That’s why there are nine guys out there. He had an opportunity to impact the game, and he definitely did. He’s a great player.”

Ventura, the highly regarded Kansas City prospect, also had an impact.

He staged a strong pitcher’s duel with Fresno veteran Yusmeiro Petit, with Ventura using his high 90s fastball and an effective breaking ball, and Petit relying on his pinpoint control.

Ultimately Ventura, 22, emerged the winner.

“Games like that, I love them because it brings out the best in me every single pitch,” Ventura said. “I have to be focused the whole time and stay with it.”

Petit, 28, retired 18 of the first 19 batters, with the only exception coming when Seratelli pulled an 88 mph, one-strike pitch just inside the right-field foul pole for his 11th homer.

“(You’re thinking) It’s just an early run, and it’s nice to get on the board first,” Seratelli said. “But it’s also nice that it held up.”

Ventura pitched around six hits and five walks in six innings of work, striking out four.

“It’s not really what you want,” Ventura said of matching his Omaha-high walk total. “I’m going to stay aggressive, but I’m not going to give in.”

After escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth, Ventura got in trouble again in the fifth as Fresno loaded the bases with one out.

Francisco Peguero hit a fly ball to Seratelli in right, and the utility player made the catch and then a perfect one-hop throw home to cut down speedy Gary Brown, who had tagged up at third. Pacific Coast League managers recently voted Brown the league’s fastest baserunner.

“When that ball’s in the air, I’m thinking, ‘Gary Brown is on third, so just get rid of it as quick as you can,’ ” Seratelli said. “The more I think about actually throwing it in the right spot, the worse it usually winds up. So I just got it and threw it.”

Petit (5-6) was the tough-luck, complete-game loser. The right-hander gave up four hits and no walks while striking out six.

Ventura (5-3) extended his streak of scoreless innings to 132⁄3 over his last three starts. In his last five starts, a span of 26 innings, he’s allowed three runs — no more than one in any game — for a 1.04 ERA.

Though Ventura’s command wasn’t sharp — only 54 of his 94 pitches were strikes — Jirschele said he showed the strides he’s made as a pitcher since his promotion from Class AA just over two months ago.

“He wasn’t sharp today, and yet he gives you six shutout innings,” Jirschele said. “He threw just enough strikes to get through it.

“He’s starting to realize that it’s not how hard you throw it, but where you throw it. Location is the most important thing.”

Storm Tracking: Highly-regarded Kansas City prospect John Lamb will make his Class AAA debut Thursday. The left-hander was one of Kansas City’s record nine top 100 prospects, according to Baseball America, prior to the 2011 season and has worked his way slowly back from Tommy John surgery later that season. Lamb, 23, who was ranked as the 18th-best prospect two years ago, is the last of the nine top 100 prospects to play for Omaha. ... Chris Dwyer and Everett Teaford will be bumped back in the rotation by one day, with Felipe Paulino starting on normal rest Saturday with Danny Duffy’s expected promotion to Kansas City on Friday.

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