Storm Blasted by Quakes to Open Homestand

A combination of poor pitching and poor defense put the Storm in an early hole from which they could never escape as they got pounded 11-1 by the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - It was a rough night all-around for the Storm, who had more errors than hits in the game and who saw eight different Quakes score a run.

The tone for the night was set early. After a single and error put two men on, one-time Pirates wunderkind Jarek Cunningham lined a single to center. Kyle Gaedele fielded it and threw through to home to hold the lead runner. However the Quakes’ trail runner failed to notice and wound up on third base as well. Meanwhile the throw got away from Robert Kral at home, and Livengood fielded picked it up and ran toward the trail runner before throwing wildly behind him at second. That sent Brandon Trinkwon scrambling for home, where he was thrown out by Jose Rondon for the ever-so-common 8-2-1-6-2 putout.

After that circus act, the Quakes unloaded a triple and single to plate three before Kral threw up a would-be base stealer to end the inning. In all, Justin Livengood retired just one batter in the inning. Things were no better in the second. Fernando Perez booted a tailor-made double play ball after a leadoff single to set up an even weirder play for Livengood.

On a suicide squeeze, the 2013 10th-rounder charged, fielded and misfired on his throw home to get the lead runner. Livengood reacted quickly and actually chased down his own errant thrown near the backstop, then threw away the ball at second when the bunter tried to advance. Two runs scored on his pair of errors.

In all, Livengood surrendered nine runs in three innings, though only one was earned thanks to his and his infield’s ugly defense. Even when the Storm weren’t kicking the ball though, he was hit hard and had trouble getting hitters to miss.

If any good news came out of the game for the Padres, it was that Walker Weickel had much better stuff than we’ve seen in a while. His fastball sat at 91-92 and touched 94 in his three innings of work and he spun some quality curves and sliders as well. While he yielded a monster home run that went over the light tower in right-center field, it was the only run he surrendered on two hits and he recorded three strikeouts.

Notes and observations:

While shortstop Jose Rondon was 0-for-4 at the plate, he looked very strong in the field. He ran a long way to catch a flare down the left field line, ranged nicely to his right once and had several strong throws. He was much smoother defensively t. … Marcus Davis had several defensive hiccups when his first step was in the wrong direction. At the plate, he shot a single to the opposite field in his first plate appearance, but was eaten up by a bullpen lefty later. … Fernando Perez had a pair of errors at second and also had two ugly strikeouts at the plate. Sandwiched in the middle, however, was a nice piece of hitting that led to a single to right field.

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