With the Storm coming into the night winning its last series against the 66ers and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on a five-game winning streak, this series set up to be a battle. Quakes starter Ryan Acosta came out and pitched five scoreless innings as they picked up a 7-2 win to take game one.
The Quakes opened the game with a run playing small ball. With two outs, Yasiel Puig hit an infield single to reach base. Puig stole before Angelo Songco worked a walk to put two runners on with two outs. Chris O’Brien hit a shallow single to center field driving in Puig to go ahead 1-0 early.
A scoreless second inning set up for another scoring opportunity in the third for Puig. Mimicking his first hit to center, he reached base and scored from third on a one-out sacrifice fly by O’Brien giving Rancho a 2-0 lead.
The next two scores by the Quakes came in the form of home runs. Joc Pederson led off the fifth with his 17th home run of the season over the right field wall giving the Quakes a 3-0 advantage. In the sixth, Pedro Baez hit a two-run homer over the left field wall to go up 5-0 and Joc Pederson doubled that inning to score a third run driving in Casio Grider.
Everett Williams had three of the eight hits for the Storm on the night, including his 24th double in the seventh. The Storm left eight runners on base on the night and would not score until the bottom of the ninth.
Williams bumped his average up to .245 on the season with 24 doubles, 35 runs, and 49 RBIs for the Storm.
The Quakes tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Pederson collected his second double of the night scoring Gabriel Suarez for the seventh and final run of the night.
In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, Williams singled to centerfield and Casey McElroy, who reached on a force out ended up at second. Donovan Tate singled to third and beat the throw to load the bases for the Storm. Luis Domoromo singled to shallow left field, scoring McElroy and Williams ending the shutout but the Storm only scored two runs on the night.
Storm reliever Chris Haney pitched one and two-thirds innings of solid baseball allowing only two hits, no runs, and struck out four batters.
The teams will battle again tonight on a Social Media Saturday. Burch Smith will look for his 10th win for the Storm, as Rancho will send RHP Rubby De La Rosa to the mound in a Major League rehab assignment.
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*Contributed by the Lake Elsinore Storm
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