Lake Elsinore, CA - The Lake Elsinore Storm erupted for 11 runs on 15 hits Friday night, dousing the Bakersfield Blaze 11-4 in front of 4,304 Storm faithful.
The scoring started early, as the Eyes struck for an early run after Mallex Smith deposited the second pitch from Blaze starter Daniel Wright (L, 6-4) over the wall in right centerfield.
A three-run second increased the Storm advantage. Jeremy Baltz and Alberth Martinez started the frame with back-to-back singles, and after Duanel Jones walked the bases were loaded. Jeudy Valdez hit a ground ball to third that was misplayed by Marquez Smith, allowing Baltz and Martinez to score. Smith followed with a single, loading the bases once again, and two batters later Benji Gonzalez lifted one deep enough to plate Valdez.
With a 4-0 lead to back him, Lake Elsinore starter Colin Rea (W, 9-5) performed admirably. The Cascade, Iowa native allowed just one run on six hits through six innings of work, striking out four without walking a batter.
Leading 4-1 to start the home half of the fourth, the Storm added two more in the inning. Jones led off with a double, advancing to third on a groundout in the next at-bat. Jose Rondon scored Jones with a single two batters later. The Storm newcomer proceeded to steal second and would eventually score after Gonzalez singled to left.
Despite the 6-1 advantage, the Eyes weren't finished. Lake Elsinore added two in the fifth thanks to Martinez's tenth home run of the season and another in the sixth to go up 9-1.
The Blaze scored single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but two Storm insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth were more than enough to secure the 11-4 victory.
Baltz and Martinez paced the offense with three hits each, and the former led the way with three RBI. Eight of the nine Storm starters recorded a hit, and five of those eight had multi-hit efforts.
With the win, Lake Elsinore (60-44) improves to 4-1 against Bakersfield (60-44) in 2014. The victory moves the Eyes into a tie for first place in the California League South.
Storm newcomer Rafael De Paula will make his California League debut tomorrow night after joining the Padres organization as part of the trade that sent Chase Headley to the New York Yankees. He will be opposed by Ismael Guillon (0-3, 8.38 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm, but make sure to arrive early as the first 1,500 fans will take home a Storm hat courtesy of US Foods.
The evening will also feature Storm President and GM Dave Oster singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" while undergoing a prostate exam as part of Cancer Awareness Night. Tickets are still available in person or online at stormbaseball.com