LAKE ELSINORE, Calif - Thanks to early offense and a strong bullpen, the Padres' affiliate won back-to-back games to begin their final home stand of the first half, defeating the Lancaster Jethawks, 4-2, at The Diamond on Saturday night. Coming off the team's sixth shutout of the season, four Storm pitchers combined to allow only two runs, as the league's top hitting team has scored in only one inning so far in the series.
Making his starting debut for the Storm, RHP Reiss Knehr got early support as the home team scored three unearned runs on three hits off Lancaster starter Will Gaddis (3-5) in the bottom of the first. Knehr pitched four innings, striking out five while allowing two runs on five hits, including Luis Castro's league-best 13th of the year to get the Jethawks on the board in the top of the second. The visitors added one more run in that frame to make it a one-run game, but Storm pitchers shut down a potent offense for the final seven frames to secure the victory.
RHP Nick Kuzia, in his third outing with the team, worked 2.2 innings of scoreless ball to earn his first win as a member of the Storm. LHP Fred Schlictholz set down four consecutive batters out of the bullpen and closer Evan Miller, the mid-season All-Star, saved his ninth game in ten tries while lowering his ERA to 1.30 on the season.
For Lake Elsinore, SS Gabriel Arias got the scoring started with an RBI double of the right field wall in the bottom of the first to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Later in the that inning, 1B Olivier Basabe had a two-out, two RBI single for what turned out the be the game-winning hit. Basabe stretched his RBI streak to seven games in a row.
The Storm are five games back of the Dodgers' affiliate, Rancho Cucamonga, with eight games to play, which includes three more at home against Lancaster followed by a five-game series in Rancho to close out the first half.
Nick Kuzia/RHP: 1st California League win (2.2 IP, 0 runs, 2 hits)
Evan Miller/Closer: 9th Save, tied for 1st in league, overall has allowed 4 earned runs, 11 hits in 20 games/27.2 IP
Gabriel Arias/SS: 1-4, RBI double, eight game hitting streak
Olivier Basabe/INF: 1-4, two runs driven in, RBI streak now at seven games (10 RBI)
Storm team: The Storm are 19-11 in their last 30 games, improving to 31-29 overall
WP: Nick Kuzia (1-0)
LP: Will Gaddis (3-5)
Save: Evan Miller (9)
HR: LE: None | LAN: Castro, solo (13th, T2)
On Sunday, June 9 at 1:00pm All-Star RHP Elliot Ashbeck will make his 17th appearance and second start of the season as the Storm host Lancaster at Pete Lehr Field. Ashbeck is 2-0 with 1.82 ERA and opponents are batting .169 against Marshfield, Wisconsin native. The Jethawks counter with All-Star LHP Ryan Rolison, who is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in eight starts for the Rockies' affiliate. For the best available seats buy online at stormbaseball.com or call 951-245-4487.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.