Schmidt leads Storm to Cal Finals

Padres prospect allows two hits over eight shutout innings

Nick Schmidt went 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts for Lake Elsinore. (Ken Weisenberger/

By David Heck / Special to | September 13, 2011 9:59 PM ET

Nick Schmidt didn't get much run support from the Storm offense Tuesday night. Thankfully for Lake Elsinore, he didn't need it.

The left-handed Padres prospect allowed two hits over eight scoreless innings, striking out nine as the Class A Advanced Storm beat the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 1-0, to advance to the California League Championship Series for the sixth time in franchise history.

The game marked the third time the Quakes had been shut out in their last 144 games. Rancho Cucamonga led the league with 848 runs scored this season.

Schmidt (1-0) did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth, when Blake Smith led off the inning with a double to center field. The only other base knock off the 25-year-old came in the seventh when Angelo Songco singled on a drag bunt to second base.

Jeff Ibarra tossed the final frame for Lake Elsinore, setting down three in a row to notch his first save of the postseason.

Jake Blackwood drove in the only run of the game, plating Nathan Freiman with a two-out single in the fourth.

Selected with the 23rd overall pick in 2007, Schmidt went 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 12 California League starts during the regular season. He allowed one run over seven innings in the Storm's playoff opener against the Inland Empire 66ers, but did not factor into the decision. His postseason ERA stands at 0.60 in 15 innings.

The best-of-5 Championship Series starts Thursday, with the Storm facing off against the Stockton Ports. Lake Elsinore will host Game 1.

In other Cal League playoff action:
Ports 4, Giants 2

Dusty Coleman homered and Daniel Straily allowed two runs over six innings as the Ports advanced to the Finals for the first time since they won the championship in 2008. Reliever Anthony Huttenlocker (2-0) earned the win by giving up one hit over two scoreless innings. Jose Guzman tossed a perfect ninth to record his second save of the playoffs and close out San Jose's season. Box score

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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