Bakersfield, CA - The Lake Elsinore Storm claimed sole possession of the best record in the California League Friday night, defeating the Bakersfield Blaze 8-6 to secure the series sweep.
Bakersfield grabbed an early lead, their first of the series, with a three-run second. Storm starter Colin Rea (W, 8-5) was touched up for four hits, including a home run that gave the Blaze an early advantage. Rea would rebound after the inning, finishing his outing after five innings while allowing five runs on six hits, striking out five in the process to earn the victory.
Despite the deficit, Lake Elsinore hung crooked numbers in consecutive innings to take the lead for good. Benji Gonzalez started the fourth with a single, advancing to second after Diego Goris did the same. Gabriel Quintana followed with his twenty-fifth double of the season to score Gonzalez, and Goris came around on a ground out in the next at-bat. Corey Adamson capped the inning with his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field that put the Eyes up 4-3.
Lake Elsinore added four more in the fifth. After the first two batters were retired by Blaze starter Mike Dennhardt (L, 4-6), Gonzalez singled again to start the attack. Goris delivered another base hit to put runners on the corners, and Quintana came through with an RBI knock to score Gonzalez from third. The big blow came off the bat of Luis Domoromo, who deposited his ninth home run of the season over the right field wall to make it 8-3.
Relievers Nick Mutz and Adam Cimber followed Rea on the mound, with the former allowing one run on one hit while Cimber worked a scoreless frame. Brandon Alger notched his ninth save of the season to secure the 8-6 victory.
The first six Storm hitters turned in two-hit performances, and Domoromo led the way with four RBI. Mallex Smith did not factor in to the scoring but continued his success at the plate, tallying two doubles in five at-bats. Goris' two-hit, two-run effort closed the book on his tenure with Lake Elsinore, as the shortstop and team batting leader was promoted to AA San Antonio after the game.
With the win, the Storm (58-40) completed the sweep of the Blaze (57-41) and stand alone at the top of the California League for the first time this season.
The Eyes travel to San Jose for a four-game series with the Giants, with game one set for Saturday, July 19. It will be the first time the two clubs have met this season. Coby Cowgill (3-1, 4.56 ERA) will go for the Storm while Joe Kurrasch (7-3, 2.94 ERA) gets the ball for San Jose. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00pm.