LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - After taking the last three games in Modesto, the Storm are back at The Diamond for another midweek series. They will take on the Inland Empire 66ers in a three-game series that will begin Tuesday, May 15 and conclude Thursday, May 17. Although behind the 66ers in the standings, Lake Elsinore is 4-3 against Inland Empire head-to-head.
Left-handed pitcher Adrian Morejon is slated to take the bump in the series opener for Lake Elsinore, coming off his best performance thus far when he went seven shutout innings against Rancho Cucamonga last Wednesday, giving up just three hits and a walk while collecting seven strikeouts. Ronald Bolanos and Michel Baez will round out the starting rotation for the series. Neither of which the 66ers have faced before.
Hot out of the bullpen as of late, Elliot Ashbeck hasn't given up an earned run in any of his past three appearances, striking out nine batters in 5.2 innings over that time. Meanwhile, David Bednar joins him out of the bullpen, having much success against Inland Empire this season. Bednar is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and seven strikeouts in five innings against the 66ers this season.
Nobody has enjoyed facing Inland Empire quite like Buddy Reed, who is hitting .586 (17-for-29) with 11 extra-base hits, nine runs, nine RBIs, a .625 on-base percentage and a 1.901 OPS in just seven games against the division foes.
Infielder Kelvin Melean will look to join him in an offensive outburst. Melean is 5-for-14 (.357) with two RBIs and a pair of runs in his last four games.
They will have to match up against right-handed pitcher Joe Gatto on Tuesday. Gatto, who hasn't faced the Storm yet this season, has been on fire as of late. The righty is 2-0 in his last two starts, giving up just one earned run and tallying 14 punchouts over his last 11 frames.
Offensively, Lake Elsinore will have to be careful when pitching to California League Player of the Week Jared Walsh. Walsh is hitting .433 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his last nine games. Perhaps even more impressive, he is hitting .588 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in just his last five games.
Brandon Sandoval and Luis Rengifo have also swung loud bats lately. Sandoval is hitting .412 and Rengifo .378 in each of their last nine games, although Rengifo is just 5-for-23 when facing Storm pitching.
One man who does swing the bat well against Lake Elsinore is Jack Kruger. Kruger is hitting .368 (7-for-19) with three doubles against the good guys.
Catch what is sure to be some exciting midweek baseball at The Diamond and be sure to come out Thursday for the Return of the Rally Cop. You can buy tickets online at stormbaseball.com or call 951-245-HITS.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.