Storm Inch Closer to First Half Title

A series win over Rancho Cucamonga keeps the Storm alive

By Matt Rodriguez / Lake Elsinore Storm | June 11, 2017 7:31 PM

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - Coming into the four-game home stand two games out of first place, behind the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Lancaster JetHawks, the Storm knew they had their work cut out for them.

Thursday night, the first night of a four-day celebration that is GEEKend, a series of theme nights encouraging fans to bring out their inner geek, was a quiet night as far as the game itself was played. Excellent pitching continues to be the trend for Lake Elsinore this season and Thursday's game was no exception.

Storm starting pitcher Jacob Nix threw seven strong innings while giving up just one run and striking out seven Quakes hitters, but the Storm bats didn't really come to life until the eighth inning. After Chris Baker drove in a run to tie the game with two outs, Edwin Moreno followed up with a two-run triple to left-center field, giving him three base hits on the night.

Three runs was enough for the Storm as the bullpen held on with perfect innings by Jose Castillo, who earned the win, and Trevor Frank, who picked up his second save in the 3-1 win.

With over 3,000 fans in superhero costumes for Friday's Superhero Night, Storm starter Jesse Scholtens tossed his best outing with the team to date, throwing seven shutout innings of two-hit ball and collecting eight strikeouts to earn his second win in a Storm uniform.

The bats were a little more active early in Friday's win, scoring a run in the third and adding three more in the fourth. Baker had the big blow to seal Rancho's fate on Friday when he connected for a three-run home run to left field.

The bullpen again looked nearly perfect, with great innings out of Gerardo Reyes and Frank to preserve the 4-0 shutout and tie things up with the Quakes for second place in the division standings.

The Quakes got one back on Saturday night in front of a Storm crowd of over 4,500 fans gathered at The Diamond for Star Wars Night.

Lake Elsinore struck first in the first frame for an early 1-0 lead, but the Quakes bats would heat up for two runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh.

In another attempt at a walk-off comeback, Storm bats stringed together a couple of hits in the bottom of the ninth to plate two runs, but grounded into a game-ending double play with the winning runner at the plate, losing 5-3.

Starting pitcher Eric Lauer once again looked outstanding, striking out ten batters in six innings, but suffered the loss. Edwin Moreno paced the Storm offense with three singles, while Chris Baker, Javier Guerra, Peter Van Gansen, and Kyle Overstreet each collected two hits.

The Storm took the series on Sunday, closing out GEEKend4 with a 5-2 win over the Quakes, after being down 2-0. A pair of runs in the fourth and five and another run in the sixth lifted the home team and gave starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi plenty of run support for his fifth win of the season.

Lucchesi tossed seven strong innings while striking out ten, while Jose Castillo and Trevor Frank executed out of the bullpen to keep the Quakes off the board.

Ruddy Giron tallied three base knocks while Josh Naylor added two and Taylor Kohlwey collected his second triple of the season.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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