Storm Offense Remains Stagnant in Game Two Loss to Quakes
For the second consecutive night, the Lake Elsinore Storm offense was held to mostly clear skies and not the thunderous sound of runs being scored that they have become accustomed to in this young season. As the second-best pitching team in the California League by ERA and fourth-best in all
For the second consecutive night, the Lake Elsinore Storm offense was held to mostly clear skies and not the thunderous sound of runs being scored that they have become accustomed to in this young season. As the second-best pitching team in the California League by ERA and fourth-best in all of Single-A, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes once again showed their pitching might in a 4-3 victory at The Diamond.
The night began with Thomas Balboni Jr. being given his first start of the season and for the entirety of his four innings, he was a man determined to be given a second. In his first inning of work, he saw just three batters and replicated that performance across each of his next two innings. Seeing the minimum and striking out 33% of the Quakes' starting lineup.
Despite the second consecutive loss and lack of offensive production, the Storm were on base three times to the Quakes' zero through three innings played.
In the fourth, Balboni ran into trouble due to an error from Rosman Verdugo, who walked three times on the night but whose mishap led to runs scored as the throwing error kept two men on and nobody out. Balboni was able to get the next out on a pop fly to right field that moved a runner to third. A full-count walk loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly scored the first run of the night. A second-pitch single would score the second run, a crucial bit of insurance for the Quakes. He would strike out his final batter of the night as he would allow no earned runs to score and just one hit on the night.
David Morgan's first Diamond appearance came in relief of Balboni. It would prove rocky as he allowed a single and a double to increase the Quakes lead from two to three. The Storm would respond quickly as three consecutive walks loaded the bases before Wyatt Hoffman hit into the rare, run-scoring double play to put the first run on the board for Lake Elsinore.
The next inning that saw offensive production came in the 8th. An in-between, line drive from Nick Biddison caught Padres top prospect, Samuel Zavala stuck between diving and keeping the ball in front of him. Unfortunately, this awkward lack of split-second decision-making saw the ball careen past him, needing the left fielder's assistance in retrieving it. This wasted time was enough for Biddison to score on an inside-the-park homerun.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Storm threatened once more to put multiple runs on the board. Following Tyler Robertson reaching on an error, Zavala slammed a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. The team's leader in batting average, Graham Pauley, would take the plate for his chance to get his team that much closer to evening the series, however, he would fail to do so, striking out on three pitches instead.
Fortunately, as he has been all season, the clutch levels of Albert Fabian prevailed. A 2-run single to center field would bring the Storm within one, much because of a delayed run home from Zavala that deeked the centerfielder into believing he was simply settling for the safety of third base. This slowed his urgency to get the ball into the infield and thus, brought two runs home.
In the bottom of the 9th and needing just one run to tie the game, the Storm didn't offer the resistance they needed to and were retired in order to lose the game and the California League lead in wins.
A win tomrrow would put the Quakes and Storm tied for first place once more with three games remaining in the homestand.
-Written by Justin Jett