SERIES VS. LANCASTER
Following the final road series of the season in Inland Empire, the Storm return to the friendly confines of The Diamond for the final time in 2018 as they wrap up the home portion of the schedule with a four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks. The JetHawks, Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, have fared well against the Storm in 24 head-to-head matchups. The JetHawks lead the season series 14-10, which includes a 5-5 record at Pete Lehr Field and a 9-5 record at The Hangar. With a high-octane offense that Lancaster has produced this season, they have scored 149 runs and 28 HR, but Lake Elsinore has kept things interesting by batting .302 with 130 runs and 17 HR.
For as close as the head-to-head stats read, the overall 2018 stats have painted a different picture for both teams. The Storm are ranked Top-3 in many offensive and pitching categories, while the JetHawks dominant the offensive side of things. The Storm rank 3rd in batting average (.259) and SLG (.403) to go along 1277 strikeouts. The JetHawks rank number one in batting average (.282), hits (1281) and stolen bases (153).
KEEP AN EYE OUT
As the 2018 season winds down, Storm outfielder Nate Easley continues to put together a strong resume during the 2018 campaign. Through 54 games in the second-half, the Glendale, Arizona native is batting .310 (63-for-203) with 5 HR, 29 RBI, 35 runs scored and 19 doubles. With a positive run since the middle of June, Easley has improved his overall numbers to .284 Avg./.352 OBP/.428 SLG which ranks Top-3 on the team in each category among active Storm players. Shortstop Chris Baker has also found a way to make a comeback this season after getting off to a slow start. Coming into the second-half, the San Mateo, CA native was batting .189, but in 40 games since, he is batting .277 (39-for-141) with 3 HR, 19 RBI and 18 runs scored. In that time, Baker rattled off a 12-game hitting streak (August 5th-19th), which currently ranks tied for 3rd on the team, that boosted the batting average from .228 to .257.
During the month of August, starting pitcher Nick Margevicius has been a dominant force in the Storm starting rotation. The 7th Round Selection in 2017 from Rider University, has gone 3-1 in 5 appearances (4 starts) with an ERA at 4.15 to go along with 37 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. The 22-year-old has recorded back-to-back wins in his last two starts (8/19 vs. Quakes & 8/25 @ Lancaster) by combining for 13 IP/13 H/5 R/3 ER/1 BB/14 K.
Out of the bullpen, Tom Colletti has begun his time with the Storm on a high note. The Ohio University alum tossed one scoreless inning on August 26th versus Lancaster, which comes on the heels of his promotion to the California League on August 24th. Prior to this, Colletti had gone 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 4 Saves in 19 appearances with AZL Padres.
EYES ON THE OPPONENT
Lancaster (courtesy of jethawks.com): Timely hitting has always been a staple in the JetHawks batting order and it has continued thus far this season. As a team, Lancaster leads the league in almost every offensive stat category and it especially starts with outfielder Vince Fernandez (Rockies #22 Prospect). The former UCR Highlander has crushed Cal-League pitchers this season through 112 games as he is hitting .264 (107-for-406) with 24 HR, 74 RBI and 25 doubles. Fernandez has crushed Storm pitching with a .270 Avg., 8 HR and 17 RBI. Newcomer to the JetHawks, Luis Castro, has come on strong since his call-up from the Boise Hawks on July 21st. In just 21 games, the 22-year-old Venezuelan first baseman is batting .351 with 3 HR, 13 RBI, 16 Runs and 8 doubles. His impressive numbers in Boise (Short-A) led to an MWL Player of the Week and the momentum has carries forward.
On the mound, reliever Heath Holder has been a steady force in the JetHawks bullpen that has helped balance the pitching staff. The 2018 Mid-Season All-Star has gone 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA since the break with 47 strikeouts in just 39 innings pitched. Remarkably, the former Georgia Bulldog is tied for 1st on the team with Brandon Gold in Wins (9).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.