San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers and Lake Elsinore Storm opened their three-game series at San Manuel Stadium with a well-pitched and defended game that finished with the Storm on top of IE 4-2. Lake Elsinore, led offensively by Bullsbrook, Austrailia native Corey Adamson, improved to 11-3 versus the Sixers this season.
Neither team had a base hit until the fourth inning when Storm centerfielder Alberth Martinez knocked an Elliot Morris (1-2) offering out to left field for his seventh homer of the year and a 1-0 lead. Inland Empire got on the board in the fourth as well against Lake Elsinore starter Joe Ross (7-4). The 66ers got back-to-back singles from Chad Hinshaw and Mark Shannon. Hinshaw eventually scored on a fielder's choice to tie the game 1-1.
In the fifth, the Storm struck with Adamson's big blow. Morris was a strike away from getting out of a jam but left a changeup high in the zone on a 2-2 pitch and the Aussie Adamson did not miss it. His three run shot made it 4-1 Lake Elsinore (43-32, 3-2).
The Sixers struck again in the seventh. Lefty Chris Nunn relieved Ross for Lake Elsinore and the first pitch he threw was hammered out to right by Cal Towey making the Storm lead 4-2. It was Towey's sixth homer in 2014 for Inland Empire (25-50, 0-5). He also stole his team-high 14th base on Monday.
The Sixers' bullpen of Chris O'Grady and Jairo Diaz tossed three scoreless to keep it tight. Diaz threw a perfect ninth with two K's. The hard-throwing righty from Venezuala has been unscored upon in his last five outings. Nunn and fellow lefty Brandon Alger (SV, 5) retired the last nine Inland Empire batters after the homer by Towey in a row to lock down the win. Neither team committed an error in the contest. The Sixers have lost six straight games and searching for their first win of the Cal League's second half.
The series continues Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium at 7:05 pm. It can be heard live at 66ers.com.