After falling behind early over the last three ball games, two of which they came up short in, the Lake Elsinore Storm needed to try something new on Thursday night. This was especially true considering the Storm currently have just 15 pitchers on their roster, four of which are built
After falling behind early over the last three ball games, two of which they came up short in, the Lake Elsinore Storm needed to try something new on Thursday night. This was especially true considering the Storm currently have just 15 pitchers on their roster, four of which are built up to start. So, with a bullpen game on the schedule, a rainfall of runs was needed.
Luckily, the Storm surge came earlier than predicted. After Homer Bush Jr. reached base in his first at bat of the game, a throwing error from 66ers pitcher, Chris Clark, would get the speedy Bush Jr all the way to third base. With the first run of the game 90 feet away, the Storm committed two unproductive outs which put the hard-hitting Griffin Doersching at the plate. His rip down the third baseline would get passed the third baseman and bring Bush Jr home. This 1-0 lead is the first time the Storm have acquired the lead first since last Friday against the Visalia Rawhide.
The 66ers would be quick to take that from them, however, as a top of the 2nd home run would even the score at one run apiece. Luckily, the first four innings were offense heavy for the home team. In the bottom of the second inning, a Tyler Robertson triple would once again put a runner 90 feet from paydirt with no outs for the second consecutive inning. Nik McClaughry would bring him home shortly after to retake the lead.
After the 66ers responded once more with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the top of the third, the Storm responded with authority in the bottom of the inning. A five-hit 3rd inning with extra-base hits would score four runs and was punctuated with a Robertson home run to left field which was approximately ten feet farther than his lead-off triple in the second inning. He was one of five Storm players to have two hits tonight and was one of two players with a home run as top prospect, Samuel Zavala. His two-run homer in the fourth inning was his 14th of the season and would combine to be his 70th and 71st RBIs of the year which leads the California League. Zavala now leads the Cal League in both RBIs and BBs this season with an OPS of .880.
On the pitching side, four bullpen arms would combine for nine innings pitched, eight hits, eight strikeouts, and just four earned runs for a final score of 8-4. The winning pitcher would be Javier Chacon with 2.2 innings pitched, one hit allowed, one run allowed, and four strikeouts.
The Storm are now back within five games of the final playoff spot in the California League and with eight games remaining against the team they trail, there is plenty of time to make things interesting.